Welcome to our regular column from teacher and stand-up comedian Sarah Whitmore. Did you make New Year’s diet resolutions? Sarah has some thoughts about that—and a dessert recipe that’ll knock your socks off.
The New Year brought the predicted icy blast of diet culture. By now you should be finished with Whole30, Sober January, and Sad February. Time to choose your next first-world food identity.
There are so many ways to be an eater: Ketogenic, Paleolithic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Intermittent Faster. I identify as a strict Ovo-Lacto-Beefo-Lambo-Lobstero-Vegetarian, but I make sure to supplement my diet with plenty of desserts and pork. With so many wonderful diets peppering the headlines, who even knows how to eat anymore?
The most popular diet seems to be Keto. All the exceptional people in Silicon Valley—you know the ones—with those long, waxy necks sheathed in black turtlenecks, wearing the goofy, wool shoes, looking like they stepped into a bag of hedgehogs. Those guys swear by Keto—and with good reason.
One can easily lose up to a million pounds by simply eating tallow puddings. Keto practitioners need eat only seven to nine pounds, per day, of bacon-wrapped butter, and VOILA! Your blood turns to a dense and septic syrup. Why have plain-old wet blood when you can have an acidic concentrate—a robust paste. A paste as powerful as ADVANCED COMPUTER SCIENCE.
The only trick with Keto is determining if you are actually in the Keto-zone. Don’t worry, it’s easy to spot the signs of ketosis if you know what to look for. Once your urine is tawny and viscous—a smoky, burnt sienna—you’re all set. Soon you’ll be saying things like:
“Because of my new robot blood, I got promoted at Google!”
“I’m so thin, my blood stings!”
If Keto doesn’t feel right to you, don’t worry. I did some research—after combing through months of science ads on my Instagram feed, I can assure you, diets are PRETEND!
Here is the part where I’m not kidding around. This is my favorite sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free pie. Actually, it’s just my favorite pie—ridiculously yummy . . . and Paleo.
Salted Caramel Date Mousse Pie
1¼ cup coarse white almond flour
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons cassava (tapioca) flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup pitted dried dates
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups very firmly packed, pitted dates—I use mostly Medjool.
2½ cups thick coconut cream, divided (Obtain by chilling 5 cans full-fat coconut milk, then carefully scraping out the precious white, hunk of goodness from atop the gray slurry.)
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked
5 to 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Soak 1 cup of cashews overnight in the refrigerator under enough water to cover by one inch. Exposed cashews can become discolored. I accidentally soaked mine for 53 hours and the cashews turned a bit purplish—fine for grape-themed dishes but otherwise creepy.
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Whisk together almond flour, cassava flour, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Place mix in food processor. Add dates, sliced almonds, and pulse until lightly chopped. Drizzle in melted coconut oil and pulse to make dough—still speckled—not a smeary paste. Press dough evenly into a deep dish pie pan, thin at the bottom and curvy along the top edges. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Nuts continue to brown after cooking so remove from oven long before dark brown. Chill crust in refrigerator.
For the filling: Rinse and drain cashews. Place cashews in food processor. Pulverize until very creamy. You should end up with a little more than one cup cashew cream. Pit dates and pack firmly to measure 2 cups. Place date clump in a pan and sear over medium heat—no oils. Turn frequently. The date mass will get a bit crisp, but don’t burn it. The pan should get fairly coated with date paste. Don’t worry about cooking all the way through, just caramelize the outside a bit. After 3-5 minutes, transport date heap to clean food processor. Pour 5 to 6 teaspoons vanilla extract (yes, that much!) into pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden or plastic spatula over very low heat. Add the entire mixture to the food processor. Add salt. Add cashew cream to the date mix. Blend until mousse-like and very creamy. Add 1½ cups coconut cream (reserve the rest), and blend just until combined. Smooth into chilled crust. Chill. Decorate with whipped coconut cream topping.
For topping: Whisk 1 cup of coconut cream to fluff. I flavored mine with a teaspoon of powdered monkfruit sweetener. You can also sprinkle a smidgen of fancy, flaky salt over the top—I did.