No-Bake PB&J Pie

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My family lived in New Mexico. My mom would pick me up at noon, then make me a diagonally-cut PB&J when we got home.

I would eat the sandwich while seated on a “place mat” of a towel on the floor, with my eyes fixed on “Woody the Woodpecker,” and slurping milk in between large bites.

The life was good then. Mom made sure I ate when I was hungry and that my bed was made. Cartoons, Nintendo, and biking were among the activities. The life I lived then was not as “rich” as it is today, with all the amazing people and experiences. This is why adulthood is something that I welcome with open arms.

Perhaps eating a PB&J as an adult is a silly attempt to hold onto the simplicity of childhood – a simpler time when Nintendo was king and life seemed simple.

I believe that life can be simple again, but we have to be deliberate about it. It’s not bad to eat a PB&J pie now and then to keep everything in perspective.

I can’t explain it, but the combination of peanut butter and jelly makes me feel that way. I am transported back to my childhood, even for just a few hours.

I originally wanted to make a PB&J dip, but you can still make it if you’re going to use a crustless recipe. When I saw how coconut whipped cream reacts to “caramelized” dates, I knew I had to make a pie.

Coconut whipped cream on its own is delicious. When you add some peanut butter and (naturally sweeten) the date paste, it gets CRAZY. The result is the fluffiest, thickest pie filling ever.

Don’t you worry? I’ve got other ideas up my sleeves for this combination. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, and -free! This is some amazing stuff.

So, the pie. The assembly goes like this:

1. Make a 2-ingredient pie crust (the only baking required)2. Prepare strawberry compote, and let it cool.

3. Whip coconut cream.

4. Add date paste and peanut butter.

5. Whip again.

6. Top with cooled compote and add pie filling.

7. Chill. Eat. Start living your life.

Ingredients

CRUST

  • The crumbs from 1 sleeve of Nabisco Original Graham Crackers* or another vegan-friendly cookie/cracker (the sleeve yields about 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp)
  • We like Earth Balance, Miyokos, or coconut oil.

JELLY COMPOTE

  • One pound of fresh or frozen strawberries. (Or substitute another berry of your choice. // 1 pound yields approximately 3 cups)
  • Orange juice 2 Tbsp ( optional for sweetness)
  • 1 tsp Chia seeds

DATE SWEETENER

  • Pitted dates – 1 cup (if the dates are not sticky, soak them in warm water for ten minutes and drain.
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)

PB MOUSSE

  • Two 14-ounce cans of full-fat coconut cream (or milk) (or two (14-ounce) coconut milk cans) // Refrigerate overnight
  • Salted natural creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a large bowl of peanut butter mousse in the freezer.
  • Add the graham crackers into food processing. Process until you get a fine meal. Add melted butter or olive oil and combine. Press evenly into the crust and transfer to a pie dish or 8×8 square dish. Bake for 10-12 mins or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large saucepan, cook strawberries and orange juice until they are very bubbly. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until thickened. Smash the fruit with a wooden spoon. Add chia seed (optional) and stir. Refrigerate.
  • Add dates to your food processor. Process until you get small pieces or a ball. Add a bit of coconut oil and then a small amount of warm water. Process until you get a thick paste. If desired, add a pinch or two of salt to balance the flavor. Set aside.
  • Remove coconut milk from your fridge, and scoop out the thickened cream. Leave any clear, runny liquid in the can.
  • Beat the mixture with a mixer until it becomes fluffy and forms peaks. Add peanut butter and date past until the desired taste is reached. I used 1/2 cup of peanut butter and almost all the date paste. Spread the filling evenly over the crust and chill it for up to 1 hour.
  • You can now either cut the pie into desired slices and serve it with the chilled compote OR spread the entire compote on the pie right before serving.
  • The pie will last in the refrigerator for a few weeks. After that, freeze and serve it as “icebox pie” (defrost for 15-20 minutes).

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