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For the love of pie

February 20, 2012

“Pie is the Food of the Heroic!” Edgar Watson Howe

National pie day on January 23rd has come and gone, yet again, and even if you didn’t notice its passing there was a drooling horde of pie lovers that did. Once again, Lower Nehalem Land Trust and Foot Roots from Tillamook joined forces to raise money for their cause by having a pie feast and auction and spread pie satisfaction across the land. (Well at least the community.) The event which was held at the United Methodist Church in Nehalem on January 28th, was packed and had standing room only for the pie crazed bidders.

The seduction began as soon as you parked your car and opened the door. There you were instantly hit with the most amazing aroma of the barbecue in the parking lot where the vegetables had been roasted for the savory tarts. Then as your nose aggressively pulled you into the building, your senses were overwhelmed with such fragrances of the fresh baked pies that all your salivary glands went into full production! The courtship was done; you were had in the parking lot. Bring on the bidding!

Some of the lovely pies offered on pie day

This had been planned, sort of. Earlier that day, a band of merry pie makers had gathered there to take a workshop under the excellent guidance of master pastry chef, Kim Miller. The workshop’s focus this year was on savory pies, which the attendees made over 6 different mouthwatering types. Some of the savory pies where German Onion, Quiche Lorraine, and roasted vegetable tarts. The aromas were intoxicating to the joyous pie devotees.
But the savory pies were not to outdo the classic sweet pies! “Some of the big hits this year with the bidders were marionberry, lemon meringue, pecan, key-lime and many variations on all of these themes as well as a whole new section of “health reform pies!” (gluten free, vegan, raw, organic) which sold very, very, very well.” Lorraine Ortiz, event coordinator shared.

Kim Miller, pastry master

“The highest bid on a pie was $70 for a stunning classic lattice-topped cherry pie baked by Karen Hirte of Manzanita.” Ortiz shared. The event brought in over $2300 for the cause and after the auction all the salivating pie lovers were treated to a delectable pie feast where all their dreams came true. “This feast had over 30 different pies of all kinds baked by the workshop and people from as far south as Neskowin to Tillamook to the Nehalem Bay Area.” Ortiz said

My pie, which was a chocolate coconut dream pie, that was vegan, gluten and grain free, was the second highest bought pie that night. For the love of pie and in celebration of this delicious event, I have shared the recipe with the community. It is perfect for both an event or for a private party of two on Valentine ’s Day. Bon appetit!

Chocolate coconut dream pie

Dark chocolate pie crust

1 1/4 cups of almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or a high quality oil
2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips, melted

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees with a rack right in the middle of the oven. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda and whisk it together till it is blended. In a smaller bowl combine the oil, honey, and melted chocolate. (yum) Stir the chocolate mix into the dry mix and stir till everything is well combined. (Here is the fun part) Press the crust into a 9 ½ inch deep-dish pie pan. This takes a wee bit of patience and love to get it all in there evenly and pretty.

Pop the crust into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the surface of the crust loses its sheen and starts to look dry. Be careful here, it is easy to overcook this nugget. Take out of the oven and let cool for at least an hour before you fill it up with yumminess.

The luscious filling

2 (13.5oz) cans of coconut milk (not light!)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of arrowroot powder
1/2 cup of honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of super dark chocolate chips

After making this pie many times, I have learned you get out everything you are going to need on the counter by the stove, BEFORE you start to cook. This pie requires a strong arm and conviction but the rewards are awe inspiring. Now, on with the action.

Pour all but 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and salt into a medium to large saucepan. Measure out your arrowroot powder and place in a small bowl. Pour the 1/4 cup of coconut milk in with the arrowroot powder and whip it up with a whisk till it is a nicely blended paste. Measure your chocolate chips, honey and vanilla and set aside. Now you get to turn on the stove under the coconut milk to medium high heat. Bring the coconut milk to a simmer, almost a boil, whisking frequently. When it comes to a simmer get to whisking all the time, for a few minutes.

Add the arrowroot powder paste and keep on whisking like mad till the coconut milk starts to thicken, about 2-3 minutes, then whisk in the honey and vanilla. Stir like a crazy chef for about 1 more minute then remove from heat and keep whisking for another minute or two. Let it cool for a few minutes then whisk in the chocolate chips till they are melted. (Love this part! One could save all the whisking if you used an immersion blender or handheld blender but I like the tactile feel of doing it by hand.) Continue to let it cool for about 15-20 minutes while whisking it here and there and try not to drink it all, but spoon tasting is definitely required. Pour into the awaiting cooled pie crust, toss some nuts on top if you so please, and refrigerate for 2 hours or better yet, overnight till you serve it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2012 5:07 am

    MmmmMMMMmm mmm MM! (as in, Bill murray, in “What About Bob” good. I have many gluten-free flours, but keep forgetting to pick up arrowroot. Is there another likely substitute for this? Is the arrowroot more like a starch (tapioca, potato, etc.)?

  2. February 21, 2012 5:09 am

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