I received some delicious homework this week: 

Make a pie. 
Rules? Carte blanche. Do as you wish. Make it interesting.

Challenge accepted!

I decided to take this opportunity to make a raw, vegan, gluten-free dessert. I’ve seen the raw food movement really begin to shine in the past couple of years with the appearance of raw vegan restaurants, quite a few beautiful food blogs, and raw cookbooks. Though it hasn’t gone mainstream just yet (many of my peers had never heard of it), popularity has grown among the foodie community. Search #raw or #rawfood on Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ll see what I mean.

Why raw? Why not! The first thing that attracted me to raw food – the simple fact that it’s a new type of cuisine – which means a whole new world of meals and desserts to try. As an added bonus, the health benefits of adding raw plant-based foods to your diet are countless. The dishes themselves, when prepared properly, can satisfy any craving, from light to hearty, savory to sweet. The majority of the recipes that I’ve seen have been vegan – perfect for me – and are chock full of veggies and fruits. And, if you’re wondering, “what about protein?” Trust me, there is a ton of it. As with many vegan dishes, protein comes from nuts and seeds, and soaked and sprouted grains.

In many raw recipes, nuts and seeds are used in ways that I’d never thought of before, and this really intrigued me. For instance, I’ve seen recipes that involved fermenting wheatberries to create rejeuvelac, then combining them with blended raw cashews to make a savory cheese-type spread. Sunflower seeds and pepitas are ground and pressed together and then dried out to create crackers. My ultimate WOW moment? When I discovered that I could make a whipped cream out of cashews.

I decided that I needed to try it out asap.

So I experimented, and then experimented some more. And I came up with the creamiest non-dairy cream I’ve ever had. My favorite part was that it didn’t have that dreaded soy-aftertaste, unlike most of the non-dairy “cream” products that I’ve tried in the past.

Oh, and the WOW factor of this pie is off the charts. 
Seriously. I brought this to my pastry student friends and it disappeared in seconds. In a room full of pies, the raw vegan one disappeared first.

You want to impress (insert name of anyone here)? Make this. 
Don’t tell them what it is right away. Just tell them it’s pie. 
Let them taste it.
Then tell them how there’s no processed sugar in it. 
Then tell them that it’s vegan.
Then tell them that it’s gluten-free. 
Then tell them that it’s raw. 
Then tell them yes, they can have seconds. 

Chocolate Torte
with Cashew Coconut Cream & Berries
raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need

2 cups gluten-free oats
12 dates, chopped
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 tbsp raw agave nectar
how to do it
Pulse oats and cocoa powder in blender until flour consistency is reached. Add dates and coconut oil. Pulse until mixture comes together. Press into bottom of 10″ springform pan. Refrigerate.
Clean out blender.
Blend cashews and water. Add a little bit more water if cashews are too stiff to turn. Add oil, blend again for about a minute. Mixture will be warm from blades. Add vanilla and agave. Pulse until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. 
Note: if your cream is too watery to pipe, add more coconut oil and blend. 
Pipe cashew cream onto crust. Top with berries. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Enjoy. Every. Single. Bite.