If you don’t like light shortbread pastry with a thick vegan caramel filling with a hint of chocolate, and a crunchy nutty salted topping…This pie is not for you. But if that sounds like it might tickle your fancy, then my friends this caramel pie with cashews is most definitely for you – and it’s vegan and has no added sugar into the bargain! I must have made about five versions of this pie in the quest for the perfect vegan goodness, and I thoroughly enjoyed, er…”testing” every one (as did my poor beleaguered friends and family).
This recipe is not set in stone and can definitively be tinkered around with. The amount of cocoa added in this version will give you a decadent thick caramel with a hint of chocolate. You can increase the cocoa to 25 grams for a stronger more chocolate-style pie, or leave it out altogether for a pure caramel taste. The cornflour is definitely needed, without it your pie-filling may escape your pie as soon as you cut it. I made this pie the way I like it, gigantic, with a thin crust, and a massive amount of filling, in a 30 cm pie pan. I love caramel with a slightly salty bite, but you can leave the salt out of the caramel and replace the roasted salted cashews with plain roasted cashews if you prefer a sweeter pie – I warn you that the date caramel is very sweet though, so maybe make it and try it before you rule out salting it.
To make this pie without added sugar, I substituted sugar in the short crust with Truvia – however if you’re not bothered about a bit of sugar, the crust is definitely a nicer texture with some sugar in it. I leave it up to you to decide….This pie definitely makes enough for at least ten people with large appetites and is really filling – but as I can attest to, if you really put your mind to it you could probably finish it yourself within a few days. I like to make it when my kids and my husband are around, to save my own waistline!
- 365 g flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup of Truvia plus 2 tablespoons, or 150 gram sugar
- 125 g margarine
- 75 g olive oil
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 40 ml soya milk
- 700 g pitted dates
- 1.5 - 2 tsp salt
- 2 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 10 g good quality vegan cocoa
Topping and Assembly
- 200-250 grams roasted salted cashews
- Mix the dry ingredients together (from the flour to the Truvia/sugar).
- Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles crumbs. Use a little of the olive oil to lightly oil your pie pan and then add in the oil and the rest of the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well until everything comes together.
- Smooth as quickly as possible with your hands into a ball.
- Pop into the freezer for half an hour.
- Take out the dough and place on a lightly floured worktop. Roll with a rolling pin into a large circle 1.5 inches bigger than the circumference of your pie pan.
- Lightly dust the top of the rolled-out dough with flour, and pick the edge up and roll all the dough up around your rolling pin (carefully so as not to break it).
- Unroll the pastry over and into your pie-dish. Use your hands to push the dough into every crevice of the pan, and either cut off any overhanging dough or pinch into the desired shape.
- Prick the base all over with a fork and place the pie pan in a preheated 160c (fan) oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then cover with tin foil to prevent burning, increase the heat to 180c and bake for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden and just done.
- Blend or process the dates with one can of coconut milk, the salt, vanilla extract, cocoa and cornstarch, pushing the mixture down the sides until it's as smooth as possible.
- Add 1/2 of the remaining can of coconut milk, blend again. Add the remaining coconut milk and continue blending until your silky smooth caramel is ready.
- Pour out the caramel into a non-stick pot and heat over a medium heat until simmering. Maintain at a lively simmer, being careful to not get spattered, for five minutes.
- Pour the hot caramel into the pie crust.
- Roughly chop the cashews and sprinkle over the top of the filling, lightly pressing in with your fingertips (you don't want the nuts pushed under, but you do need them lightly pressed into the caramel or they will fall off when you cut your pie).
- Leave the pie to cool for 45 minutes then place in the fridge and chill for at least six hours, overnight would be better.
- Slice your yummy pie and remove from the pie-pan.