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Book Review: Raw Essence (with recipes)


RawEssence: 165 Delicious Recipes for Raw Living was released last week, and lucky me, I had a copy show up about two weeks ago. I couldn’t decide what to try, first world problem I know, the majority of the recipes all sounded good – and the lush photography made it even harder. If you love eating raw, you must get a copy of this book!

But….knowing me, I ended up in the dessert section. I kept wandering back to the Sugar Pie on page 194-195. Which brings me to something:

If you are over a certain age (gah, am I in that crowd now?), there was a time when Brazil Nuts were hounded on for being “unhealthy”. This was mostly due to just how high in fat the nuts are (and they are really seeds if you will). And yes, they are fattening, no doubt about that, but what the 80’s low-fat craze left out was that was that the fat was a good fat. Brazil nuts are something to not over indulge in, but to enjoy in your diet in small amounts. And oh do they produce an amazing nut butter! But do be careful, while Brazil nuts are a source of many wonderful things, indulge in a few every day, but don’t go over board. So…having said that, enjoy this pie but remember, s small slice goes far. It is rich and filling. The pie lasts a long time, up to 10 days in the refrigerator for 4 months if frozen. And that is the beauty of raw desserts – you actually ‘fill up’ and don’t mindlessly keep eating.


This was a three-part recipe, but none of the steps were hard nor time-consuming. Having fresh date paste in the refrigerator is a great time saver, it is a wonderful fat and sugar substitute for a lot of recipes (use it for oil in muffins!). The paste is  in both the crust and the filling, so make it ahead….or be like me, washing my food processor 3 times in a row 😉


Date Paste (From page 25)


  • 2½ cups pitted dates (used Medjool)
  • 1½ cups filtered water


Soaking: In a container (used a small mixing bowl), cover dates with water and let soak for 2 hours. Press down thoroughly so all dates are moistened. Cover with a weight, if necessary.

Once dates are thoroughly softened, place them along with their soaking water in the food processor and mix until a paste obtained that is as uniform, sticky and smooth as possible.

Store for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.


It only took a minute or so in my food processor to make a smooth paste. I used Medjool dates, from Costco’s produce department, which are very soft to start with. Harder dates may need a longer soak time.


Coco-Pecan Crust (from page 195)


  • 1½ cups pecans
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 Tbsp date paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves (I left this out)
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt


In a food processor, reduce pecans to powder.

Add remaining ingredients and blend into a crust of even consistency that can be formed into a ball.

Keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Makes one 9″ crust.


For easy pie removal, line a glass or metal pie pan with plastic wrap, then pack in the crust mixture with hands. Pat down firmly with the back of a metal measuring cup. Chill until ready to fill.


Sugar Pie (from page 195)


  • 1 coco-pecan crust
  • 3 cups Brazil nuts
  • ¾ cup date paste
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil


(While I followed the directions in the book, even with our powerful Vitamix Blender, if I were to make the filling again, I would just mix it all up in the processor and skip using the blender. The filling is thick and really works the blender hard.)

In a food processor, reduce Brazil nuts to a butter that is as liquid and creamy as possible

Pour mixture into blender. Add date paste, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Reduce to a smooth paste of even consistency.

While blender is running, incorporate melted coconut. Continue blending until mixture is creamy and of even consistency.

Pour mixture into crust. Refrigerate pie for 3 hours to allow it to set.

Makes 1 9″ pie, 8 to 12 servings.

Keep covered and refrigerated for up to 10 days, or stored in freezer for up to 4 months (wrap slices individually).


FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy of the book for potential review.

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