Thanksgiving. Gatherings. I was asked, “can you make dessert?” “Sure, I can make dessert.”
Yeah right. Five seconds later, “OH EM GEE. WhatcanImake!” It’s a Western party with Western people. I had never made a Western dessert before, not even chocolate chip cookies from dough that comes out of a tub (and then you just shape it into cookies and bake them, or not – one of the weirdest things about American people is that they love eating raw cookie dough like the Vietnamese like noodle soups. I don’t get it). So of course I did the same thing I do everyday at work – and also what I tell my students to do when they ask me homework questions: I googled.
The credit should go first to Cheryl. She once told me that a pastry chef at her previous job made an awesome avocado pie. Pie is common at Thanksgiving, and avocado is not too sweet and still around (the very tail end of the season, though), I figured at least I would like it.
Some part of me was wishing I could make a savory dish instead, one that I could taste and see the final product. (With pies, you can taste the components before you assemble them together, and then it’s in the hands of Fate.) The nice thing about dessert, though, is that I can make it the day before, and if I fall flat on my face, I’d still have a day to do it again. Thinking so at least helped me regain my composure to make it work.
Everyone at the party was quizzical about the green thing. I told everyone to try it to figure out what made it green (mainly I just wanted my pie to be eaten). A few people just went through a list of green things they could think of, including artificial colorings. It was fun. (And yes, they liked it too. )
Non-Baked Avocado Pie with Nut Crust
[to fill a 9-inch pie pan]
1. Brazil nut and date crust: (inspired by this Veggie Blackboard recipe)
- 35 Brazil nuts
- a handful of dried tart cherries
- 45 pitted dates (it doesn’t have to be Medjool dates, I used Deglet dates, which is far cheaper per pound)
In a blender/food processor, grind the nuts into crumbs, blend in the dates and cherries until it becomes a sticky crumbly bunch. [You can substitute the dates with pitted prunes and cherries with raisins, dried blueberries, etc. or nothing. Basically, you need nuts and dried fruits.] Press the “dough” into the foil pie pan to shape the crust. Refrigerate while making the filling.
2. Filling: (inspired by this Kirbie’s Cravings recipe and one of the comments to that post)
- 2 large Hass avocados
- 2 lemons – to make 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
Blend them together into a smooth, thick paste. The lemon juice keeps the paste from discoloring (it stays green forever!). The avocado makes it luscious and not too sweet.
Fill the crust. Cover and refrigerate until serve.