Gluten free, Sugar free, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

no bake apple pie
Two years ago at our Yoga Therapy Training, I served a gluten free, dairy free, no sugar added, homemade apple pie. The recipe was requested. It has taken me these years, but at long last, here, finally, it is.

Unfortunately, when I first came to write it up last month I couldn’t find the recipe. Fortunately, that meant I had to try it a few times before it came right again, and that meant a lot of apple pies this autumn. Yes, we are blessed!

raw-gf-apple-pie

The saying An apple a day… is truer than everApples support your liver to help your body process and releases toxins in our air, water, food – more important now than ever. Apples help clear your colon, also more important than ever – as everyone, even mother earth, needs extra support now in eliminating waste.

Apples are good for your bloodeyes, skin. Apples are cool, so they are Pitta-reducing and anti-inflammatory. They are sweet, so they are Vata-reducing and tonifying – especially when sliced, tossed in fresh lemon juice, and sprinkled with cinnamon, as in this recipe. They are also light enough to be good for Kapha, reducing blood sugar and helping you feel full with less, thanks to so much fabulous fiber.

That makes apples tridoshic, meaning they love everyone, so everyone gets to enjoy this super food, super “free”, super pie!

sweetie apple

Be sure you use your favorite apple. Since they aren’t going to be cooked, they will taste in the pie the way they taste in your hand when you eat straight from the fruit basket. I used “Sweetie” apples, but anything fresh, crunchy and sweet will be good.

For the decoration, I wanted some red so used a Fuji, but a crispy green apple would give a lovely color, too.

apple pecan pie

I added a bit of almond butter to make it an extra high protein, high fiber, high nutritional meal I could have for breakfast, or for the kids as a midday snack. The almond butter makes the filling a bit more caramel-y, but if you feel that is too nutty for you, leave it out. It’s still great.

Also, if you are allergic to nuts you can skip the pecans and just make a crust of dates. Yes, just dates. Or, if it’s safe for you, add a tablespoon of coconut oil, and/or toasted sunflower seeds,

If you want it fully raw, skip the pecan toasting. I’ve done it that way and it works, too. But toasting draws the divine essence from pecans, giving golden, nutty grounding to the crisp, sunburst of the apple.

glutenfree apple pie

Easy, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:

2 c Pecans
10 Medjool Dates, pits removed
1 T Coconut Oil
A hearty pinch of Himalayan Salt
A pinch of Cinnamon
A dash Nutmeg

Pie Filling:

6 Apples
6 Medjool Dates, seeds removed
1 Lemon, juiced
2 T Almond Butter, optional
1 T Raw Honey, also optional
1 hefty pinch of Himalayan Salt
1 hearty dash of Cinnamon
1 light dusting of Cardamom, optional
1/4 c Chia Seeds

To make the crust:

Toast the pecans until they are very lightly brown. Put them aside. In your electric blender, macerate the dates. Add the coconut oil and spices and mix. Toss in the pecans and pulse lightly three times, just enough to break up and integrate with the dates, but careful not to turn this into pecan butter.

Press the crust into a pie dish (mine is 9.5″). Cover with a plate facing up so the slight bowl of the plate presses into the crust and so that the crust is entirely covered. Place in your refrigerator if you have a few hours before filling, or into your freezer if you don’t.

To make the filling: 

Again, start with the dates. Blend on high speed until they are completely mashed. Juice your lemon and set aside 1 tablespoon for later. Add the lemon juice, almond butter honey and spices to the dates and blend well. Slice your apples and add. Blend until the mixture starts resembling a very chunky apple sauce. Add the chia seeds. Pulse a few times to blend thoroughly. Pour this mixture onto the pie crust. Spread evenly. Cover (I turn the plate that was sitting on the crust over and use to cover) and place in your fridge. Allow to set at least four hours.

apple pie

Garnish: 

This doesn’t need a topping, but if you like the apple rose on top, just core an apple and slice very, very thin. To keep the slices from browning as you slice, put each slice as you cut into a bowl with that remaining lemon juice. Once all the pieces are cut and in the bowl, sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon and toss. The set each piece, one by one, in an overlapping circle around the outer edge. Continue making smaller circles towards the middle until the pie is covered. Then set a pecan or a few thin slices of lemon rind in the very center.

This is so simple and so quick: apart from the 4 hours in the refrigerator to let the chia seeds do their work, you can make this start-to-finish in 15 minutes.

apple pie

I guess you could call this a trick on a treat, because it seems like dessert, yet it’s delightfully good for you. Let me know if you try it, and any variations you enjoy.

being silly at the bay: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic
being silly at the bay :: protecting from the sun :: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic

What sort of tricks or treats are you doing this hallowed e’en?

What’s Your Dosha?

Wind, Fire, Water are the Three Dynamic Elements Governing Existence

Are you air, fire or water? Is your best season Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer? Are you more dynamic, focused, or nurturing?

Ayurveda sees our bodies as microcosms of the macrocosm – the universe within each being. This means you, me, everyone. We are all, all living beings, comprised of the five elements of the universe ~ space, air, fire, water and earth, animated by Mahat, a deep inner intelligence often called the Soul.

These elements, in their biological form, combine to create Doshas, which you can think of as an energy or force. There are three Doshas: Vata is made up of a combination of air and space ~ think of it as wind; Pitta is a combination of fire and water ~ think heat; and Kapha is water with earth, so it is the most stable.

Because we have all of the five elements of the universe in our being, we have each of the Doshas as well. But each of us is born with a unique, individual balance of these Doshas. That innate natural balance is called Prakriti, which is the unique combination of nature’s energies that determines your body type and personality.

Air can be gentle and refreshing, or strong and violent ~

Given that Prakriti is your inherent, unique, individual mind-body profile and Dosha is your energy imbalance, you can have a Vata, Pitta or Kapha Prakriti, but an entirely different Dosha at any given time. In other words, you can be Kapha, with a Vata imbalance. Or Pitta with a Kapha imbalance. It sounds confusing at first, but once you understand, a simple and elegant logic is revealed.

Since our health and well-being relies on balanced energies ~ stabilizing, strengthening and harmonizing our vital forces ~ in Ayurveda we look to the state of your Prakriti, your stable, balanced nature, and the play of Doshas, the fluctuating, dynamic energies, to determine wellness.

So how do you learn what Prakriti/Dosha you are?

Prakriti and Dosha Questionnaires and Quizzes abound, but the quickest way to determine yours is to consider your skin, sleep and digestion. Ask yourself the following ~

Fire is the principle of conversion without which there would be no life, no world, no existence

Skin
Is your skin usually dry?
Is it prone to redness, break-outs, itchiness or rashes?
Is it milky, thick, moist, with large pores?

Sleep
Are you challenged in falling asleep at night, restless, worried, even occasionally  insomniac?
Do you sleep easily, get up easily but often wake in the middle of the night?
Do you “sleep like a log” and enjoy staying in bed in the mornings?

Digestive Fire
Is your your metabolism quick but digestion is sensitive with occasional constipation or gas?
Is your appetite regular and strong, making you fierce if you don’t eat?
Is your appetite sluggish, especially in the morning, with metabolism slow?

The first question in each set above represents Vata. If you answered “Yes” to two or three of the first questions, then it is likely that Vata is your nature. The second question in each set represents Pitta and the third, Kapha. If you are still not sure, or want more detail, you can take my Dosha Test here.

Water gives us cohesion, stability, nourishment and refreshment

Like Doshas, the seasons move energetically, too, which is why it is so important to eat seasonally ~ to balance the doshic impact of your environment. Spring is Kapha, when Water dominates and combines with earth to make mud, or heavy, cloudy, foggy days. Summer is Pitta when heat, or the Fire element is strongest. Late Autumn into Winter is Vata, when the colder winds clear the trees of their leaves, creating more space for new life later to come.

Nature is always changing. At the same time, nature is always compensating for that change by offering foods that balance the energetic shifts, the Doshas, as they move seasonally.

Therefore in the Spring, we eat light and focus on detoxification. In the Summer we eat juicy, refreshing, cooling foods and in the Autumn we ground and strengthen with Autumn’s harvest of root vegetables, grains, warm soups, stews and herbal teas.

The Play of Elements

Throughout this Blog you will find Seasonal Recipes to illustrate nature’s bountiful wisdom. But many of you have asked me to write up ideas for a Whole Day of Meals Specific to Each Dosha.

This is daunting, but important, so I am going to break it down season by season, and post for the relevant season, hoping that you will enjoy getting the information you need when it’s most timely.

Since it is still gloriously Summer, I’ll start here, with A Day of Meals for Summer Season.

Beets, Carrots, Zucchini & Sprouts: Grated, Dressed and Ready to be Wrapped for Lunch

Breakfast ~ Green Smoothie, or Whole Grain Toast with Chyvanprash, or fresh fruit.

Morning Snack ~ Snacks are not essential but summer’s energy burns quick, often burning up the morning meal well before lunchtime. To keep that Pitta calm, stoke the fires with a piece of fruit or a frothy, blended juice of green veggies. You will feel that roaring heat mellow to a sweet purr in no time.

Lunch ~ Summer is the season and lunch is the time to go raw. I love a Veggie Wrap with grated carrots, zucchini, sliced cucumber, avocado, sprouts, lemon juice and a dash of of olive oil for dressing, seasoned with a sprinkling of fresh dill, mint or cilantro, and served with a side of Heidi Swanson’s Summer Corn Salad.

Afternoon Snack ~ Again, snacks aren’t essential or even ideal for most of us. We should arrive at a moment where we feel hungry between meals. But snacks can be very helpful when Pitta fires rage. Be prepared with Fresh Pea Hummus & Flaxseed Crackers, or Guacamole with a fresh Tortilla roll, a Coconut Banana Smoothie, a handful of fresh-picked vegetables plain or juiced, a handful of sprouts, Almonds or Sunflower Seeds, or even a slice of this delicious Live Coconut Pie, or this outrageous, Raw Chocolate Pudding that I wrote about last week.

Dinner ~ Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa; Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Broccolini and a Seasonal Salad; a warm, not hot, bowl of Beans & Greens; a room temperature soup of your favorite vegetables; or a simple meal of slow-cooked Kichari.

This is also a great time of year for a short Juice Fast. Try juicing for 3-5 days to deeply cleanse and throughly feed your body’s tissues. It helps reset your tastes to the singularly pure and healthy, so it is a nourishing way to turn bad habits to good.

Summer is really the easiest time of year for meals because most of your food is just hanging off the tree or vine seducing you with its vibrant color, ripe aroma, juicy flavor. Sweet and delicious, nature wants to nourish you, please you, excite you, love you, care for you.

What is your favorite Summer Meal?

Heaven’s Banquet by Miriam Kasin Hospodar

I’ve mentioned it before, but my favorite Ayurvedic cookbook is Eat Taste Heal.  Another one I love for its variety is Heaven’s Banquet by Miriam Kasin Hospoda, above.

Lisa Coffey is an American Ayurvedi who has been immensely creative in her expression of the Ayurvedic science. I borrowed the title of this article from one of her books, What’s Your Dosha, Baby?  She also has a lively website where you can play with quizzes on your Dosha and Doshic relationship compatibility.

It is all about Balance!

 May your food, breath and thoughts bring balance so your true light can shine.

Namaste!

~