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April Fool's Day

April 1, 2010 - Jill Anderson

How could I possibly let today go by without a comment?  It's just too bad I didn't think ahead and make a Summer Fool to photograph.  Maybe later...it is delicous anytime, not just on April Fool's Day.

I got to thinking about the word fool and I'm not sure why but it always makes me laugh.  We use it in all sorts of ways.  Some years ago, I had a cantankerous 83 year old widow who lived up the street from me.  She had a habit of referring to people as "educated fools." 

There is the ever popular maxim, "Fool me once...shame on you.  Fool me twice...shame on me!"  Abraham Lincoln is responsible for   "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  I love that one by the way.

Today's recipe could be approached with two attitudes; so easy a fool could do it or foolproof  and it IS a fooler!  Deceptively simple never looked or tasted so good. 

Church Supper Jello Salad Memories 

Who has not had one of those babies eh?  The flavor of the jello doesn't matter, only that its red.  There is crushed pineapple, chunks of banana, pecans, shredded coconut and my grandmother always made a graham cracker crust on the bottom of hers.   Some people added the cream to the salad and froze it while others served it in all it's jiggly glory with that powdered whipped cream substitute (that you mix with milk and vanilla extract) plopped on the top. 

The reasons that dish is not particularly good for you are too numerous to mention.  However, as a child I didn't know that and it sure tasted good to me.  My grandmother was the blue ribbon champion of jello salads.

Now I am grown up (some might argue that point) and TRY to cook healthy foods as much as possible but there is a certain nostalgia associated with the FLAVORS of Church Supper Jello Salad.  I put on my thinking cap one day and determined to create a healthy dessert reminiscent of that dish.

The result was a pie made from fruits, coconut, coconut milk, dates, almond meal and some pecans and it is NOT cooked.  It doesn't even have any sugar... get out of here!  Of course there is natural sugar from the dates and other fruits but no refined sugar of any kind.

Tropical Fruit Pie With Date Nut Crust 

There is a second shocker with this recipe.  It has a crust with NO grains.  Yep...no flour whatsoever.  By now you are probably thinking this sounds a little suspicious and probably tastes like sticks and leaves but you must trust me when I tell you that it gets RAVE reviews.  Even the skeptics have to agree that it DOES taste like Church Supper Jello Salad Dessert.

 Prepare The Date/Nut Crust:

  • 12 fresh pitted medjool dates (not dried)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened freeze dried coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (can sub flaxmeal or oat bran but oat bran will add gluten, wheat germ works too)
  • 1 cup almond meal (available in healthfood stores and some Publix)
  • 2 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. In food processor; pulse dates and coconut until finely chopped.  Add almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil and salt.  Pulse until mixture forms a thick, sticky ball.  Wet fingers and press mixture into a 9" deep dish glass pie plate to form crust.  Chill half an hour before adding filling

Tropical Fruit Pie Filling

  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened freeze dried coconut flakes
  • 3 ripe but firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple (in natural pineapple juice), drained well
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • extra coconut to sprinkle on top
  • optional dollop of Whipped Coconut Cream (see "New Kid on the Blog" post for recipe
  1. Combine coconut milk and freeze dried coconut in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes until milk is absorbed.  Spread this mixture evenly in the bottom of prepared crust.
  2. Top coconut mixture with sliced bananas and then a layer of sliced strawberries.  Save a couple strawberries to garnish top of pie.
  3. Sqeeze any remaining juice out of drained crushed pineapple.  It should be as dry as you can get it.  Spread evenly across top of pie.  Garnish with chopped pecans and extra coconut flakes.  Refrigerate 3-4 hours to set.
  4. Use a warm, wet knife to cut chilled pie and carefully slide a pie wedge under the crust.  You may break the first piece but that can be for the cook!  Add a dollop of Whipped Coconut Cream.  

This dessert is dairy-free, grain-free (unless using oat bran or wheat germ in crust), processed sugar-free and BEAUTIFUL!  The bonus is that it LOOKS like you really did something and tastes amazing.  But the food processor did most of the work.  Yeah...you sliced a few bananas and some strawberries okay.  Then it just hung out in the fridge until you were ready for the great reveal.  How foolproof is that?

I really hope you'll give this recipe a try and not be "scared off" by unfamiliar ingredients or techniques.  Coconut milk is available just about everywhere.  Coconut oil and flour are readily available in healthfood stores (as is almond meal) as well as online.  Some markets do carry them in their organic sections.  Fresh medjool dates are readily available in both local supermarkets and wholesale clubs.   

Happy April Fool's Day!

Todays Food Quote

"Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing."  Walt Kelly

 

 
 

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Tropical Fruit Pie with Date Nut Crust