Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Year of Gluten and Dairy Free Pies

The great pie experiment is over! I made a gluten and dairy free pie, featuring a different locally sourced ingredient, every month of 2014. I learned a few things. I really love Joy the Baker's gluten free pie crust- I made it dairy free by subbing coconut milk mixed with a squeeze of lemon for the buttermilk, but no changes otherwise. It was my go-to crust this year. Adding an egg to a gluten free pie crust makes it so so much nicer to work with. I learned that it's hard to make a locally-sourced fruit pie in fall in central Texas. The apples and pears all seem to be gone well before it gets cold here. I learned that my family is obliging and wonderful. They ate the failures (weird-o grapefruit pie, liquefied pumpkin, crazy tart blackberry, and unpeeled persimmon) as happily as the successes. I learned that strawberry pie is amazing- I have no idea why you don't see it more often. The strawberry pie and peach pies were my easy favorites. So here they are! A year of pies!


January. Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie


February. Grapefruit Pie


March. Bacon and Spinach Quiche with Latke Crust


April. Strawberry Ginger Pie


May. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


June. Blackberry Crostata with Cornmeal Crust


July. Streusel-Topped Peach Pie


August. Prickly Pear "Cheese"cake


September. Pumpkin Cream Pie


October. Persimmon and Cranberry Pie


November. Pecan Pie


December. Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

Monday, January 19, 2015

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie (gluten and dairy free)


This pie is a mouthful. Both in name, and in sheer mouth-filling density. But I think it turned out pretty damn good.  It's a combination of an oatmeal pie (like a poor man's pecan pie), and my favorite Martha Stewart carrot cake cookie sandwiches. The creamy stuff piped on top makes it taste much like an oatmeal cream pie and these are all good things. Give it a go if you too are in search of a pie featuring local ingredients and only have piles of carrots at the market.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

For the Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance (or butter), cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cold well-shaken coconut milk mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 cup buttermilk)

For the Filling

  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance or butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
For the Vanilla Cream Topping
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum organic)
  • 1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed Earth Balance (or butter) and, using your fingers or a pastry knife, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the egg and coconut milk/lemon juice mixture. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Sprinkle generously with flour. Shape dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Dough is easiest to roll out when it’s cold and rested.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. On a floured surface, roll the dough into an 11 inch circle and carefully lift into a 9 inch pie plate. Fold the excess crust under the edges and crimp with your fingers. Refrigerate for another 40 minutes, until quite cold. 

3. Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the dough looks dry and light in color, then remove the foil/parchment and weights and bake until lightly golden brown, another 5-10 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, spread the oats on a sheet pan and toast on the lower rack of the oven until very lightly browned and fragrant, 10-12 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

5. Melt the butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a skillet of water maintained at just below a simmer. Remove the bowl from the skillet; stir in the brown sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the corn syrup, vanilla, and vinegar. Return the bowl to the hot water; stir until the mixture is shiny and warm to the touch. Remove from the heat. 

6. Stir in the toasted oats, the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, grated carrots, raisins, and coconut.

7. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour the filling into the hot, lightly browned pie crust and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the filling has puffed up but still has some give in the center, like gelatin. Allow to cool completely.

8. When pie is completely cool, pipe cream topping around the edge and enjoy. 



Pecan Pie (gluten and dairy free)


Feel free to judge me for this quick shot of my pecan pie, snapped at a red light on the way to Grandma's house for Christmas. The pecans for this pie were a gift from a friend, gathered by another friend from her front yard. It is embarrassing how long it took me to shell enough to get 2 cups of pecans. But it did solve the eternal pecan pie dilemma of whether to chop the pecans (for easy slicing) or leave them whole (cuz they look so pretty). I got exactly 3 whole pecan halves out of my two cups of cracked ones so the pie features a rustic mix of big and smaller pecan bits.

There's a great recipe for a corn syrup-less pecan pie in the lovely Summerland cookbook, but this time around I just wanted to go traditional, and made limited modifications to the New Best Recipe's pecan pie. It was delightful.

Pecan Pie
lightly adapted from The New Best Recipe

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance (or butter), cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup cold well-shaken coconut milk mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice (or 1/4 cup buttermilk)

For the Filling

  • 6 tablespoons earth balance or other butter substitute
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped into small pieces
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed Earth Balance (or butter) and, using your fingers or a pastry knife, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the egg and coconut milk/lemon juice mixture. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Sprinkle generously with flour. Shape dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Dough is easiest to roll out when it’s cold and rested.

2. Preheat the oven to 375. On a floured surface, roll the dough into an 11 inch circle and carefully lift into a 9 inch pie plate. Fold the excess crust under the edges and crimp with your fingers. Refrigerate for another 40 minutes, until quite cold. 

3. Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the dough looks dry and light in color, then remove the foil/parchment and weights and bake until lightly golden brown, another 5-10 minutes. 

4. While the pie crust is baking, make the filling (the hot filling should be poured into a still hot crust, so don't do the first steps too far ahead). Melt the Earth Balance in a medium heatproof bowl set in a skillet of water maintained at just below a simmer. Remove the bowl from the skillet; stir in the brown sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed. Beat in the eggs, then the corn syrup and vanilla. Return the bowl to the hot water; stir until the mixture is shiny and hot to the touch. about 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat; stir in the pecans. 

5. As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 275 degrees. Pour the pecan mixture into the hot pie shell.

6. Bake on the middle rack until the pie looks set and yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed with the back of a spoon, 5- to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely before cutting, at least 4 hours.

Persimmon and Cranberry Pie (gluten and dairy free)


I was desperate for a fruit pie to stack between the pumpkin, pecan, and a weird-o oatmeal one that I planned to round out the year, but there was no fruit, none, at my local farmers market.  No fruit, that is, except persimmons.  They scare me a little.  There are so many varieties, and what you can do with them changes dramatically based on that. You'll find tons of recipes that call for persimmon pulp, which you get from really ripe hachiya persimmons. The persimmons I bought looked like fuyu- a variety that you can eat when still hard, so I bought them and planned to dress them up like apples for a take on apple pie. Well they ended up not being fuyus, I found out later. They're eureka persimmons, which should really be used when they're slightly soft. If you find yourself with some eureka persimmons, they actually worked pretty well as a substitute for apples, with a few important precautions taken.  You've got to peel them.  You don't have to peel fuyus, so I didn't think I needed to peel these, but the skins are outrageously, uncomfortably tough. Also, taste a small slice of every persimmon you're planning on using in your pie. Underripe ones are bizarrely mouth-drying and chalky. I ended up with one in the mix in my pie and bites with that sad persimmon in it were really unpleasant. Also, they are so so sweet.  I mixed in a cup of frozen cranberries with the persimmons to balance out the sweetness and mimic the tartness of apples and it was just right.  

Persimmon and Cranberry Pie

1 double gluten free pie crust (my favorite recipe follows)

For the Filling
  • 6 ripe but not too ripe fuyu or eureka persimmons, peeled, seeded, and sliced in 1/4 inch slices (taste each persimmon and don't include the chalky ones!)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

a few tablespoons of turbinado sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. On a well-floured work surface, gently roll out the pie crust into about an 11-inch circle. Press together any spots that might tear. Carefully lift and place into a 9-inch pie plate. Use a pairing knife to trim the edges of pie dough, leaving about 1/2 inch extra dough overhang. Refrigerate while you make the filling. 

3. To make the filling, gently toss together the peeled and sliced persimmons, the cranberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

4. Layer the filling in the pie shell, trying to make most of the slices lie flat, and mounding them higher in the center.  Roll out the second desk into an 11-inch round and lay on top of the filling, crimping the edges together. Brush with one egg beaten with a splash of water and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer. You might have to cover the pie with foil at some point after the first 15 minutes to keep it from getting too dark, so keep an eye on it.

6.  Remove the pie from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Double Pie Crust
adapted lightly from Joy the Baker

  • 3 cups Gluten-Free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance (or butter), cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cold well-shaken coconut milk mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice (or 1/2 cup buttermilk)
To make the Crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed Earth Balance (or butter) and, using your fingers or a pastry knife, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the egg and coconut milk/lemon juice mixture. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Sprinkle generously with flour. Shape dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Dough is easiest to roll out when it’s cold and rested.

Pumpkin Cream Pie (gluten and dairy free)



A pie from back in September, when pumpkins were at the market! This is an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe, but I've rewritten it a bit because my first run didn't set right, so I served oozy puddles of pumpkin glop.  It still tasted pretty good, but you couldn't rightly call it a pie. I changed the instructions to cook the custard longer, which made the pie set up nice-as-could-be.

A note about making coconut milk whipped cream. You've gotta buy the full-fat cans, and you must handle them very carefully. Try not to shake them in the store or on the way home, and don't be an asshole about it, but try to make sure they're kept upright when they're being bagged. If you don't take care with these steps then when you refrigerate the cans instead of opening up to find a deliciously thick layer of cream, you'll find a more homogeneous liquidy mixture which won't fluff up and get stiff like regular ole whipped cream. It'll still taste good, though, so you could declare it a creme anglaise and serve the pie on a happy puddle of it instead of using it as a topping.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Gingersnap Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups ground gluten and dairy free gingersnaps (If you're in Austin, I used Lucy's, which you can purchase at Wheatsville)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons earth balance (or butter), melted and slightly cooled

For the Pumpkin Cream Filling
  • 2 cups coconut milk (from 1 can plus 1/4 cup stolen from one of the two other cans you'll use for the topping)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • kosher salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (from a 15 oz can, or follow this technique to make your own- it's easy!)
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance (or butter)
For the Topping:
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk, handled carefully and refrigerated overnight
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

Make the Crust:

Make the gingersnap crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine gingersnaps, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in melted earth balance. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Make the Pumpkin Cream Filling: 

Bring coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.

Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup milk mixture into yolk mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining milk mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens up like a good custard, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately whisk in pumpkin. Whisk in 1 tablespoon earth balance.

Strain filling through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Pour into gingersnap crust, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. 

Make Topping:

When ready to serve, scoop out all the thick and solid creamy part of the remaining two coconut milk cans (leaving the separated transparent watery part behind) and put in a medium bowl, along with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Whip with a handheld mixer until stiffer and creamy. Put a dollop on each slice of pie and garnish with nutmeg.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Food52 Holiday Potluck and GSBB Party

this photo and all others by my sister Helen! thanks sister!! http://thousandshipsphotography.com/


Happy December! Happy All the Things! I've got a backlog of four (four!) pies to share with you coming soon, but first, I wanted to recap a spectacularly wonderful day with the ladies of Food52 in Austin.

Abbie, (the very talented aargersi on Food52, looking fly in a red tank above) started a monthly gathering of the ladies in her life who love food. Usually we all go out to a new-ish restaurant, but in December we have the most wonderful potluck instead. Last year, we did a little bit of holiday giving as part of our potluck. We stuffed stockings and made double batches of our potluck food to donate to the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars holiday party, which just so happened to be on the same day.

This year, we doubled down on our efforts to help this fantastic organization (which is lead by my incredible sister Joanna!) When the ladies heard that the GSBB had lost much of its funding this year, and that the girls wouldn't be getting presents as they had last year (for many, the only Christmas presents they would receive) these wonderful women dove in head first. Each woman eagerly agreed to sponsor one or more of the girls in the troop. We had so much interest that we were even able to buy gifts for each of the girls' siblings as well.  It was truly incredible, and a miraculous show of generosity from these dear cooks. In addition to the gifts, we stuffed stockings and cooked homemade goodies for their holiday party.

All of this, combined with Joanna's tireless efforts on their behalf, made the GSBB Christmas Party a huge success.  I was lucky enough to be there and get to experience first-hand the joy these girls had when they saw the huge piles of gifts for each one of them.  And when they learned that there were gifts for their siblings as well, the girls were even more thrilled. It was the best ever and I am forever grateful to the incredible women pictured above for their love and generosity.

If you want to learn more about the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program, which is a special troop for girls whose mothers are incarcerated, you can and should check out this documentary about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM7EqqWgS_g&app=desktop

And here are a few words from Joanna:
At the beginning of this school year- The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program lost 40% of our funding from a government grant we had been depending on. They said they still supported our program but were interesting in funding larger statewide programs instead. It has a been a struggle to keep the doors open. Yesterday a friend of a friend heard about the troop and wrote a $100.00 donation check on the spot. I know most of us cant afford a $100.00 donation but if you are looking to give this holiday season- please think of us! Yes, the program is intensive and yes it costs money- but it works! What we are doing makes our communities' families stronger, kids healthier and neighborhoods safer. If you'd like to throw down 5, 10 or $20.00 it would be greatly appreciated just as a show of community support for our program. And if you don't have the funds to spare- no problem- just send us some good vibes, prayers and juju that the people and foundations who do have the funds will decide to support us. To donate go here and click OTHER- then write in Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Program. (You gotta write GSBB in for us to get the money!) Thanks!
https://www.gsctx.org/donate


And now, pictures of food! First up, our December Potluck at Molly's house!


Abbie made thirschfeld's outstanding  Spicy Chickpea and Sour Tomato Curry with Noodles.


My sister made and lovingly described this potato gratin in a tomato cream sauce as "a ball of grease" but hot damn, it was delicious!


Elizabeth's gorgeous Butternut Squash Panzanella! A perfect dish for a fall or winter potluck.


My latest obsession: April Bloomfield's Caesar Salad.  The leaves of lettuce are left whole to encourage you to eat the salad with your fingers. Have you seen Mind of a Chef? It's on Netflix and there's an episode where she makes this salad and I could not get it out of my head. Hey, you can watch her make it online! Thanks internet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIAdp_UNr2U


Barbara (Dr. Babs!) made an outstanding version of this beloved Kale and Quinoa Crustless Quiche. Barbara omits the cream cheese and subs the more delicate spinach for the kale, among other changes, and the result is totally delicious.


Eatin' and drinkin'!


More food! We didn't get pictures of everything- there was so so much! It was all delicious.


The guest of honor! My darling niece, Phinnie! Shown here with the lovely Molly B!

Now on to stuffing the stockings:


Love these ladies!







And lastly, a very few shots of the food we donated to the GSBB holiday party:


Gorgeous huh? Abbie made this amazing Applesauce Cake and won Christmas by putting not one, but two different caramel sauces on top. The darker sauce is made by boiling down a gallon of apple cider! I am only moderately ashamed to admit that when I brought home the empty cake plate after the party Henry and I diligently scraped off the remaining caramel with our fingers and ate every last bit. Yes, yes we did.


The girl scouts were all excited to see a big bowl of Chex Mix!


Molly C made several of these gorgeous salads! Love the care she put into it!



And all the chips and dips! That's a wrap on our holiday potluck- can't wait until next year!! Thank you again to the wonderful women in the Lunch Ladies group for making so much magic happen for these girls this year. You are all amazing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Prickly Pear "Cheese"Cake (gluten and dairy free)


I really had no idea what to do for an August pie. There's still lots to be had at the farmers market in August, but not much fruit (that I've seen). You can get a butternut squash and I think even early sweet potatoes, but who wants a winter squash pie in August? Then, during a lunch with my friend Abbie and other food-loving friends, one of my very favorite local food bloggers, Elizabeth of Local Savour, recommended prickly pears. And my awesome friend Abbie said that she knew exactly where to find some ripe ones!

Henry loves picking tomatoes from the garden, and harvesting anything really, so he was very excited about our prickly pear picking outting. He turned out to really hate it though. And honestly I didn't love the process either, though maybe it was because Henry whined so much :/ Abbie brought gloves for all of us (I forgot ours), and it seems like you'd be able to just carefully put your fingers around the prickly pear and avoid the glochids (the clusters of spines on the pears) altogether. But we all failed at that- those spines are insidious! We all ended up with fingers full of them and had to use duct tape and tweezers to try to get them out. But hell, we did it! I recommend trying it for yourself with leather gloves and without a toddler in tow.

Anyway, I decided to use the pears to make a gluten and dairy free cheesecake. Which sounds terrible, I know. Who wants a cheesecake without cream cheese? But I had read a blog about a vegan cheesecake months earlier and I couldn't get the idea out of my head (go check it out- these are mini no bake chocolate peanut butter cup vegan cheesecakes).  I loved that they didn't use tofutti or a cream cheese substitute- the filling is made primarily with soaked and blended cashews (which get so smooth and creamy), coconut milk, and coconut oil. So I adapted that recipe from Minimalist Baker a bit to make it gluten free, and prickly pear instead of peanut butter, and big instead of mini. Here's how it went down:


In the past when I've used prickly pears (always just one at a time to make Henry's favorite hot pink lemonade), I've either burned the spines off the prickly pears over flames (like from a gas stove or a grill), or just peeled them carefully. This time Abbie taught me an awesome trick where all you have to do is put the pears in a colander and shake them vigorously under running water. It worked beautifully! But I still wanted to be careful about removing the flesh, so I followed a technique from Rick Bayless where you cut of about a 1/2 inch from the top and bottom, cut the rest in half, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. 


I ran the flesh through a food mill (it's super seedy), but you could also just push in through a strainer with a spoon, or mash it up with a potato masher and then strain the juices out.


13 prickly pears gave me almost exactly 1/2 a cup of juice.


I mixed the cold prickly pear juice with 1/2 a tablespoon of cornstarch and brought it to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until it thickened up. I didn't add any sugar because the prickly pears were incredibly sweet.



With that done, all I had left to do was make the cookie crust (I used these GF cookies, which I found at Wheatsville- they're delicious).


And blend up the super simple cheesecake filling (I had already soaked the cashews for the filling).


All that remained was swirling my prickly pear puree into the top of the cheesecake and chilling it thoroughly. As it happened, it was in my freezer for 3 weeks before I was able to give it to my sister Joanna, but she said that it was totally delicious, even though she was initially weirded out by the concept of a cheeseless cheesecake. She did note that the original recipe calls for the cheesecake to be served frozen, and that they stored and ate it from the fridge, and that the texture was perfect that way. If you are, for one reason or another, drawn to the idea of a cheeseless cheesecake, give it a spin!

Prickly Pear "Cheese"Cake
adapted from Minimalist Baker

For the Crust:

  • 5-6 oz gluten and dairy free sugar cookies, crushed (about 1 1/4 cup crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted if solid
For the Filling:

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted if solid
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk (refrigerate the can over night and then scoop out the rich, thick white cream, leaving most of the watery part)
  • 1/2 cup honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
For the Prickly Pear Swirl:
  • about a dozen ripe dark red prickly pears
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
Make the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cookie crumbs with coconut oil and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool completely. 

Make the Filling:

Blend the drained cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, and honey in a blender. Process until completely smooth, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and adding a splash of coconut oil or milk if the mixture seems too thick. 

Make the Prickly Pear Puree:

Put your prickly pears in a colander and, under running water, shake vigorously to knock off the spines and rinse them off the pears. When the pears look smooth, cut a 1/2 inch off the top and bottom, cut in half, and scoop out the flesh. Put the flesh in a food mill and push through to separate the juice and pulp from the seeds. Combine 1/2 cup of juice with 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, transfer to a small pan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. 

Assemble and Chill the Cheesecake:

Pour the filling into cooled cookie crust. Drop spoonfuls of the thickened prickly pear puree onto the top of the cheesecake and swirl into the filling with a butter knife. Transfer the finished cheesecake to the freezer and freeze until firm- at least three hours. At this point you can leave it in the freezer, covered, until you're ready to eat it, but I would move it to the refrigerator and let it thaw out for a few hours (or more) before you dig in.