Pie. Tart. It all lies in the eye of the beholder – and the depth of the outer crust. Big Chew and I happily debated which camp this dessert falls into while devouring it piece…by piece…by piece. Oh, the things we do in the name of science! (And out of nostalgia for Twin Peaks.)
No, it doesn’t contain fairy dust or a unicorn horn; it’s raw. Raw!! The magic is all in the phytonutrients preserved by using fresh, unheated fruit, in the lauric acid from the coconut oil, in the isoflavones and antioxidants from the kudzu, and in the protein and fiber provided by the coconut and sweet sorghum flours.
Also, do not ever underestimate the magic of not needing to turn on your stove or oven during a heat wave in the South.
First order of business: the crust. I tweaked it ever so slightly from the newest raw chef on the block, Ms. Rebhal. In part because I didn’t have enough coconut flour already ground and ready for use, but mostly because I’m currently in the throes of a love affair with sweet sorghum flour (as well as teff and millet – shhh, don’t tell my other flours!).
For the filling, all I had to do was look over at the gigantic overflowing bowl of cherries we’d just picked to know what was going into it. Dwarfed in size but no less delicious was a container of strawberries I somehow managed to hide from Little Chew, so some of those went in for good measure. And since we live in the land of invasive kudzu, I thought it was appropriate to use kudzu starch as my thickener. It also happens to give fillings (and sauces, etc) a nice sheen. Probably not such a good thing for gravy, but for pie filling? Yes, please.
Raw Cherry Pie
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup alt milk, preferably unsweetened
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (do not drain!)
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 scant tablespoons kudzu starch*
1/4 cup cold filtered water
optional: agave, sweeten to taste
Lightly grease your pie or tart pan (standard size for a round pie, or 8″ square) and set aside. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl and stir vigorously until completely mixed. The dough will resemble wet sand. If you need to soften your coconut oil, do so using a warm water bath or double boiler method. Do not place the oil over direct heat. Turn the dough out into your pan and pat it into place. Transfer the pan to your refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Combine the cherries and strawberries in a small bowl and set aside. In a small cup, combine the kudzu and water and stir to make a slurry. In a small saucepan, slowly heat the slurry until it begins to thicken. If you are keeping this recipe 100% raw, use your sense of touch to ensure the slurry remains lukewarm (or use a candy thermometer to keep it just under 115 degrees F). It will take 10-15 minutes to start to thicken. If you aren’t opposed to heating the starch briefly, then raise the temperature until the slurry is not quite at a simmer – it will thicken almost instantly. Allow the slurry to cool to room temperature, then combine with the fruit. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours and it will thicken nicely.
After a 2+ hours have passed, pour the pie filling into the crust. Continue to refrigerate for at least another hour before serving. This is best if eaten within 48 hours – after that the filling will begin to seep into the crust.
*An overview about kudzu can be found here