Life in the Pacific Northwest can be harsh for a California girl. Cold winters, minimalist produce selections, and expensive apples (wait! I can't actually get a Washington apple in Washington? I'm not paying $2 for an imported apple) have dampened the bounty of my heart. Driving through the country in late Fall, the roads are lined with apple trees just bursting with delicious looking fruit. Of course, the stores don't carry them. There is more profit to be had for the powers at be to ship off our beautiful and locally grown fruit and then import sub-par, prematurely picked substitutes. Fortunately, one of my clients has 10 acres of farmland where she has a veritable orchard of pear trees! Thanks to my favorite doggy acupuncturist, I've been pretty much assured my fill of local, rich, and juicy pears!
One day after a dropping off a weeks supply of raw, vegan VV meals, I found two large buckets of pears with a little sign that said, "Take all you want!" Digging through buckets of fruits, searching for the most perfect specimen brought memories of flea markets and fruit vendors in Brisbane where all produce was displayed in boxes on a dirt floor. Is there anything as satisfying as buying fruit from a dirt floored local market? Maybe. Picking fruit ripe from the tree or produce fresh from your kitchen garden scores pretty high on my happiness charts. With all of these locally sourced gems, what is one to do with the abundance of pears? Make pie! It breaks my heart to think about baking or cooking fresh fruits. The sweetness of fruit is a sensory treat in of itself and the confetti of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins are just a pretty awesome bonus. With perfection being in the raw, why bother to heat these perfect little packages and damages the goods? In my humble opinion, fruit is best served and enjoyed in the raw. Therefore, here is my version of the most delicious unbaked pear pie you will ever taste. Enjoy the process, enjoy the ride, and please be grateful for the privilege that is a perfectly ripe pear on the taste buds.
Let's begin with the crust:
- 3 cups raw cashews
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (if your dates are dry, soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- To a food processor fitted with the "S-type" blade, add the cashews, salt, and vanilla. Process into a powder.
- Roughly chop the dates and add them to the food processor slowly while it is running.
- When the mixture forms a dough that sticks together (test by pinching a piece between two fingers and see if it holds together). If it sticks together than it is ready, if not, add another date and process again.
- Take a pie pan and line with plastic wrap. Press dough into the pan to form a pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. While it cools, make the filling.
- Once the crust is cool, it will be firm enough to remove and still maintain its shape. Gently remove and discard plastic wrap.
For the filling:
- 3 ripe pears, cored and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted, chopped
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 organic orange, seeded and peeled
Method for filling:
- To a blender, add the orange, dates, vanilla, and coconut oil. Blend well until smooth.
- Gently add sliced pears to a large bowl. Cover with orange sauce and mix until all slices are covered.
Take pie crust and lay the pear slices in facing the same direction. Wrap around in a circular pattern until all the pears are in the crust. Take one or two pieces of pear to lay in the center. Garnish with shredded coconut, optional.
This pie will keep for a few days covered in the refrigerator. Enjoy!