Fresh acorn squash makes a creamy and smooth chocolate filling. To save time you can use canned pumpkin instead; the filling won't be as smooth, but it will still taste delicious.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
Ingredients for the crust
- 1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup cashews
- ¾ cup sorghum flour, plus more as needed
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the filling
- 6 cups peeled and cubed acorn squash in 1-inch pieces (about 1¾ pounds), or 2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin
- 1½ cups Date Paste (see recipe below)
- ¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
- ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup chopped pecans, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the base of a 9-inch pie plate with parchment paper.
2. Make the crust: In a food processor, place the oats, cashews, flour, and salt, and grind to a fine meal. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and pulse until the mixture starts to bind together.
3. Transfer about half the mixture to the prepared pie dish and pat it into an even, thin crust on the bottom of the dish. If the mixture is too sticky to handle, wet your fingers with some water or use a little sorghum flour. Press the remaining crust mixture evenly up the sides of the pan and form a nice edge around the top rim of the pie plate. Prick the dough with a fork in a few places (to prevent puffing during baking).
4. Bake the crust until lightly brown and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
5. Make the filling: If using fresh squash, place a steamer basket into a sauté or saucepan, and add 1 to 2 inches of water to the pan. Cover and bring to a simmer. Place the squash in the steamer, cover, and steam until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Transfer the squash to a bowl to cool completely.
6. Transfer the squash or canned pumpkin (if using) to a food processor and add the date paste, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
7. Scrape the chocolate filling into the crust and spread evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Decorate with the pecans before serving.
Spiced Chocolate Pie Variation
For a chocolate twist on the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, omit the vanilla in the filling and add instead ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, and ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg.
If you use dates as the main sweetener in your cooking, it saves a lot of time to have them ready as a paste. Keep half the batch in the fridge and freeze the other half in a Mason jar so you will always have some ready to go.
Soak the dates overnight so that the blending process is easy. For best results, soak the dates in a flat-bottomed container so that they are all submerged in the water. The longer you soak them, the more quickly the dates will break down when blended.
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 pound pitted dates (about 4 cups)
- 1½ cups boiling water
1. Place the dates in a wide, flat-bottomed container such as a saucepan, and add the water (the dates should be partially to completely submerged). Cover the container and soak for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.
2. Transfer the dates and the soaking water to a food processor, and blend into a smooth paste.
Storage: Transfer the paste to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for 4 to 5 months.
Excerpted from Forks Over Knives Family by Alona Pulde, M.D., and Matthew Lederman, M.D., with Marah Stets and Brian Wendel. Copyright © 2016 by Forks Over Knives, LLC. Reprinted with permission from Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Alona Pulde, MD, and Matthew Lederman, MD, both specialize in nutritional and lifestyle medicine. Together they have created the lifestyle-improvement program used in their medical center and for patients in the film Forks Over Knives. They also coauthored Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan.
Matt and Alona currently live together in Los Angeles with their daughters Kylee (age 4) and Jordan (age 2) while working with Whole Foods Market overseeing various health and wellness projects.