The heat has been intense this summer. The best time to be out is in the early morning when the grass catches the dew, the air is fresh, and the summer flowers are standing tall.
The meals I’ve been preparing have been light and fresh— plenty of cold soups, salads, fresh fruits, and some protein. A light dessert, such as a slice of raw cherry pie is the perfect complement to a light lunch or dinner on a hot day.
The best thing about this dessert is that there’s almost no cooking involved!
There are no added sweeteners, just the sweetness from the cherries and the dates in the crust.
Since this pie is made with cherries, it is high in the phytonutrient—anthocyanidins. These phytonutrients help hold our skin together—meaning less wrinkles! George Mateljan’s article, “Can You Tell Me Which Foods Promote Collagen?” lists the berries that contain anthocyanidins and its effects on collagen:
The anthocyanidins found in deep-colored, red-blue berries and fruits (including cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) have been shown to work in a somewhat different way. These phytonutrients help the collagen fibers link together in a way that strengthens the connective tissue matrix.
He also states in “Boosting Your Polyphenols” that cherries and other berries are high in polyphenols, a nutrient that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits:
In the fruit group, dark plums, cherries, dark grapes, and apples were found to be the most concentrated sources of polyphenols followed by berries. (Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cranberries were included in the group of berries that were analyzed.) Among the vegetables, rhubarb and red cabbage were standouts for total polyphenol content.
Another bonus to this cherry pie is the nutrient-dense crust made with walnuts, dates, and shredded coconut.
A bit of prep work is needed to make raw cherry pie. The cherries I used were the ones I had pitted and froze a few weeks earlier when there was a sale on organic cherries. To determine how many cherries to defrost, I placed enough frozen cherries to fill my 9″ pie plate. Then I first defrosted the cherries and saved the juice in a measuring cup. To the juices from the defrosted cherries, I added enough filtered water to make one cup of liquid. I didn’t want to use juice because of the additional sugar, fructose. At times I’ve used juice when there was no juice from the fruit I was making the pie with, such as blueberries. On other occasions, I’ve soaked 5 dates in one cup of water to get a sweetened liquid as a substitute for added juice.
To this cold liquid, add one tablespoon of agar. Let the agar soak until the pie crust is completed.
Return the cherries to the fridge to keep cool.
Raw Cherry Pie
Serves 6 to 8
9 inch pie crust
1. one cup of soaked, dehydrated organic walnuts or unsoaked walnuts
2. one half cup of unsweetened, organic shredded coconut
3. one and one half cups of Medjool dates (and five extra dates for soaking to make a sweet liquid to substitute for fruit juice)
4. two teaspoons of vegetable oil (I use macadamia nut oil.)
You can use a food processor to chop and combine the walnut, shredded coconut, and dates. I did everything by hand:
1. Chop the walnuts until they ‘re fine.
2. Pit the dates
3. Slice the dates length-wise. Then cross-wise.
4. Place the chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, and dates into a bowl
5. Mix and knead until everything comes together into one mass
6. Oil a 9 inch pie plate.
7. Press the “dough” down until a thin layer covers the pie plate bottom and sides—1/8 inch thick.
8. If the pie crust needs patching, just pick up a piece from another part of the crust and patch the area.
9. Push the dough onto the lip of the dish. Pinch to create a fluted edge.
1. Two cups of defrosted, pitted organic cherries (Depending upon the cherry size, add more cherries if needed. Reserve the cherry juice in a measuring cup.)
2. One Tablespoon of agar flakes.
3. filtered water—add as much water to juice as needed to make a one full cup
1. Heat the agar containing liquid. Stirring until all the agar is dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and cool for a half hour.
3. Remove the cherries and crust from the fridge.
4. Add the cherries to the agar liquid.
6. Spoon the mixture (agar, liquid, and cherries) into the pie crust.
7. Place in the fridge, 2-6 hours.
8. Serve topped with whipped cream (optional)
Suggestions and Recommendations:
1. I prefer using Deglet Noor Dates. They only contain 2.6 grams of fructose per date, which means a small piece of this pie along with the berries will keep you close to the 25 grams of fructose that’s within the healthy limit. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to find Medjool dates, which have 7.7 grams of fructose per date. This will mean a much smaller piece of pie to stay within a healthy limit per day. In addition to having less fructose, the Deglet Noor date is also more pliable.
2. Recently I’ve been using walnuts because of their omega 3 content, but I’ve used pecans in the past.
3. Keep the cherries and crust cold in the fridge. The agar containing liquid will gel faster if the cherries and crust are cold.
4. Add whipped cream made with grass-fed (pastured) heavy cream if your a protein-type.
5. Other berries can be used in place of cherries, such as blueberries for a raw blueberry pie.