Sweet Spot

Have you ever stood in the shower, fiddling with the knob for the water and discovered there’s a point above which the water’s obnoxiously hot?  A mere millimetre below that spot, the water’s glacial.  Then if you spend about five minutes, undressed, messing with the dial, you can have a perfect blend of lava and ice floe.  Of course, having two knobs—one for hot and one for cold—simplifies this matter.  As you may suspect, I just took a shower.  Mind you, taking a shower is not a big production for me; I don’t mention showering because it’s unusual for me to do so.  Freshman year, my roommates noted that I take short showers.  Taking a less than ten-minute shower was called taking a “Q-rate shower” amongst residents of Buyers 12.  When I was younger and had less surface area, I took really short showers (OK, so, my brother and I would time each other…bragging rights for the one who took the quickest showers and managed to scrub everywhere despite time constraints).

Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie.  Worth taking short showers for.  This was my mom's suggestion for a post-Thanksgiving pie (we always make pie the Saturday after Thanksgiving since we need new pie by then).  I remade it in January since one condition of my returning to my aunt and uncle's house for an additional weekend after staying with them all month was another chocolate pie.

Chocolate-Pecan Pudding Pie (CPPP)
Modified and adapted to blender-only preparation from Vegetarian Times

8 dates
1/2 cup hot water

1 3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 cup flaked coconut, divided into half-cup measures

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used a mixture of coconut and soy)
1/4 cup cornstarch (original calls for arrowroot but I didn’t have any; tapioca would probably work fine, too)
1 banana
1 cup pecans
3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted (I used 3/4 of a 2-ounce bar mint chocolate and 1/8 of an espresso chocolate bar)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate.

In a small glass measuring cup, pour the hot water over the dates.  Let soak while you work on the other parts of the crust.  In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, and salt.  In a dry blender, whiz the coconut flakes ‘til they’re powdery (chunk size is your preference).  Mix half the ground-up coconut with the rice flour-almond meal mixture.  Set aside the other half for the filling.  Blend the dates, a quarter-cup of the soaking liquid, and the melted coconut oil until the dates are mostly broken-down.  Pour the date mixture on top of the rice flour-almond meal mixture and stir to combine.  Once the mixture begins to cohere, transfer it to the pie plate and press it along the bottom and up the sides of the plate.  Poke the crust all over with a fork and set aside.

Back to the blender: blend the non-dairy milk, cornstarch, banana, pecans, melted chocolate, agave, vanilla, and the other half of the coconut until uniformly chocolaty.  Stop the blender (did I need to tell you?) and poke down stubborn pockets of cornstarch as necessary.  Pour into the crust, spend ten minutes scraping every last bit out of the blender, and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack before placing in the ‘fridge and chill three hours. 

If you don’t chill it sufficiently, this is what happens, it’s more pudding-y.

After several days, it’s like cheesecake.  'Cept with more clothes.  I was describing some turn-of-the-century postcards to my grandfather a few weeks ago and I called them “cheesecake,” and then I asked, “You know what cheesecake is, right?”  He knew.

I have a suspicion this dessert could easily be made raw, and other than a toasty-flavoured crust and the cornstarch reaction, baking doesn't improve it.  I'm guessing the addition of two bananas, the original amount of coconut oil, and some cocoa nibs and the omission of cornstarch, chocolate, and processed non-dairy milk would convert the filling.  The crust could be raw if everything were soaked instead of heated to make it blend (but there would be no flour for it to be raw).

Gah, I don’t want to leave D.C.  I keep saying that, and I'm afraid I'm going to jinx myself and something bad will happen to keep me here before classes resume.  I’m behind schedule, though I don’t even have a schedule.  Progress means the appearance of more bags of my stuff in the family room.

At least I have new music for the drive: Archaic EP by Rudimentary Peni.



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