chocolate caramel pie (vegan, paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

Some things were not meant for sharing. This rich and gooey marriage of soft caramel, light and smooth chocolate mousse, and a sweet dark chocolate pie crust certainly wasn’t.

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Avocado in chocolate mousse? Refrigerating coconut milk for caramel? Dates and almonds in a pie crust? You wouldn’t be mistaken if you thought summer holiday had fried my brain. Although it has, the weird and wonderful ingredients in this pie somehow manage to come together and create a truly delicious slice of heavenly healthiness. I went there.

In other news, I’m officially a Daring Baker! Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies!

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I love how pies like this come together in a matter of minutes with a bit of prep. Remember the days of cutting cold butter into flour and having to wait hours before being able to enjoy the fruits of your labour? Me neither. Simply make my simple caramel sauce and the pie crust before breakfast in the morning and you’ll have pie when you get home. It’s as simple as that; there’s nothing like pie!

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Chocolate Caramel Pie (vegan, paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

by Alessandra Peters

Ingredients (serves 18)

    For the Crust

    • 200g almonds
    • 8 large pitted Medjool dates
    • 50g cacao powder
    • 2 teaspoons water

    For the Caramel

    • 65g cane sugar
    • 1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight (at least 12 hours)

    For the Chocolate Mousse

    • two large avocados
    • 250ml pure maple syrup
    • 150g cacao powder

    Instructions

    For the Crust

    1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until fine and it just holds together. Press into an 8-inch, 20cm fluted tart pan. Chill the base for about 20 minutes.

    For the Caramel

    1. Take out your can of coconut milk and open it. Carefully scoop out the top layer of ‘cream’ into a separate bowl until you are left with coconut water.

    2. Heat the cane sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Don’t stir it – simply shake the pan a bit! Very carefully, remove the pan from the heat and add in the coconut cream teaspoon by teaspoon. Watch out as it will splatter! Add in the coconut until it has all been dissolved, whisking as you go. Bring to a boil again (3-4 minutes) until it thickens slightly. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and let cool, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Place in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.

    For the Chocolate Mousse

    1. Process all the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and chocolatey! Taste it, and if it tastes of avocado, add in an additional tablespoon of maple syrup and a tablespoon of cacao powder.

    2. Process again and keep going until it tastes rich, dark, and divine! Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

    To Assemble

    1. Prepare the caramel at least 4 hours in advance and the base about an hour in advance. Take out the pie base, then slather it with the caramel sauce! Top with chocolate ‘mousse’, then serve! You can prepare it up to 2 days in advance. Store in the fridge.

    I topped the pie with a caramel tuile made from the additional sugar I had when I was making the caramel – I simply took a fork, and guided the sugar into a pattern on some greaseproof paper. I let it set for 10 minutes and then garnished my pie with it!

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    simple caramel sauce (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan, grain-free)

    Caramel sauce makes everything better – it’s quite alike to peanut butter, which has the same property. Moving on from my attempt at chemistry, this sauce is utterly delicious and is even easier to prepare than it’s dairy-filled counterpart, making it a definite contestant in my top-10 ‘I’m hungry’ list.

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    It’s a perfect companion to banana chunks, the aforementioned chunks but frozen and chucked in the food processor to make glorious ice cream, almonds, and of course chocolate pecan cookies. Is it sad that I can verify each and every one of those claims?

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    I’ve taken to keeping at least 6 cans of coconut milk in the fridge for caramel sauce emergencies; that’s how scrumdiddlyumptious this sauce is. (My lexicon consists of Roald Dahl vocabulary. Don’t judge.)

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    Attack it with a spoon, dig out a scoop of it or spread it on anything within a 2-foot radius – have sauce, will (most likely) share.

    Simple Caramel Sauce (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan, grain-free)

    by Alessandra Peters

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Keywords: dairy-free egg-free gluten-free grain-free paleo vegan

    Ingredients (1 cup)

    • 1/2 cup muscavado sugar
    • 1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

    Instructions

    1. Take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge. Open it, then scoop the thick white coconut fat at the top into a separate bowl until you are left with just the coconut water. Reserve 1/4 cup of the water and put it into a small saucepan.

    2. Add the sugar to the coconut water in the pan, then heat on medium heat until it is fully bubbling, about 3-4 minutes. Teaspoon by teaspoon, add in chunks of coconut fat and whisk after each addition until no lumps remain. Keep adding coconut fat until you have finished it and the caramel is a light golden colour.

    3. Let the caramel come to a boil again (3-4 minutes) until it starts to thicken a bit. Take off the heat, pour into a glass container, and let the container stand, lid open, until the caramel is completely cool. Transfer to the fridge and let set for at least 3 hours.

    4. Enjoy!

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    Enjoy!