(Note: this post was originally published on March 8, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
My love for this pie is indescribable. If you're looking for a pie that's unbelievably delicious and indulgent, yet packed with nourishing ingredients, this is it.
My journey to this recipe started with the Honu, or the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. We've all heard of "chocolate turtles" and turtle-inspired baked goods, which rely on the trio of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. I wanted to create a Hawaiian spin on the classic, in honor of the Honu: chocolate, caramel, macadamia nuts, and coconut.
The Honu are amazing! They come up onto some of the beaches on Kaua'i to rest. They're huge, gentle animals that seem so kind and wise. Truly one of our favorite sights on the island. The photo below is from one of their favorite spots on Kaua'i, where we see them more frequently than anywhere else. This pie, which we call "Honu Pie" in our house, is in honor of these incredible creatures.
Although this pie certainly looks and tastes decadent, it's actually made with good-for-the-body ingredients.
The crust is basically a protein bar. Protein-rich MacNuts, naturally sweet dates, and flavorful coconut are the only ingredients, yet they create a crust that's perfectly chewy and so easy to put together. It's delicious and fuss-free; just blast it all in the food processor! I'm quite sure I'll never go back to a traditional crumb crust after discovering this combination.
And let's not forget about that gorgeous, creamy, dreamy, chocolate filling. Guess what? It's made out of avocados! The avocados create the most luscious texture, yet their flavor is undetectable thanks to cocoa power, melted dark chocolate, and vanilla (or a little dash of coconut rum, if you're feeling adventurous!). It's all naturally-sweetened with maple syrup for a filling that's luscious and yet still nutritious.
Hawaiian Flavors (+ Some Very Special Nuts!)
This pie is part of my ongoing collaboration with Mauna Loa, creators of the most amazing macadamia nuts. The MacNuts are without a doubt the star of this pie, making an appearance in both the crust and the topping.
But there's lots of other Hawaiian flair too! Coconut, of course, always creates such an island vibe. Avocados grow beautifully in Hawaii, and we engulf them in vast numbers while we're there. Cacao also grows well there, and we often see whole cacao pods at the farmers market. So this pie truly is a tribute to Hawaiian ingredients (especially if you want to add a little dash of coconut rum to the filling!).
The toppings are the most fun part! I like to top this pie with coconut, MacNuts, and a big drizzle of caramel for that classic "turtle" vibe. Additionally, you could opt for chocolate shavings, whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, a drizzle of melted chocolate, or whatever suits your fancy. But I highly suggest a giant handful of MacNuts, they provide such lovely buttery crunch!
The downside of this pie is that it requires some chilling time... but the upside is that it's 100% make-ahead friendly due to that enforced chill time! I think the texture of this pie is best if it's stored in the freezer, so you'll at least want to freeze it overnight. But you could easily assemble it a few days or maybe even a week ahead; just keep it very tightly sealed. When you're ready to serve, let it warm up for 15 minutes and then enjoy!
If you're really crunched for time, you could also make the crust even farther ahead and keep it in the freezer for as long as a couple weeks. Make the filling, fill the crust, and then freeze it again. (Note: this is a great strategy if you have time to make the crust, yet your avocados aren't ripe yet).
Don't you find desserts like this so comforting? It can be completely finished and happily waiting in the freezer days before your event! I find that it just takes so much pressure off to know that at least one component of my meal is done.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Dates. Make sure they're pitted. Double check!
Macadamia nuts. I prefer to use Mauna Loa Hawaiian Sea Salt because they have so much flavor. If you don't use salted nuts, add a bit of salt.
Shredded coconut. I suggest unsweetened.
Dark chocolate chips. Vegan if desired.
Avocados. Make sure they're ripe! This absolutely will not work if they're under-ripe. No one wants chunks of avocado in their cream pie filling.
Coconut cream. This is the solid, white cream that collects at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk. Or, better yet, numerous brands sell full cans of coconut cream now (it's basically my new favorite food). Make sure you have solid cream, not milk, or the filling won't be thick enough.
Coconut rum. Optional but it adds so much depth of flavor to the filling. If you'd rather not use this, add a dash of vanilla instead.
Coconut flakes. For the top of the pie! I like to use the big flakes because they're so pretty.
Whole macadamia nuts. Also for the top of the pie. Honey roasted ones would be a fun treat if you can find them!
Drizzle of caramel. Vegan if desired.
Additional toppings optional. Chocolate shavings? Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream? If you want to add whipped cream, dollop it on just before serving since it doesn't do well in the freezer.
This pie comes together very quickly. Make the crust mixture in the food processor and press it into the pie pan. Freeze the crust while you work on the filling, also in the food processor. Fill the pie, top it however you like, and you're done. There's really no excuse not to make it again and again...
Nutritionally speaking, I adore this pie because it's jam-packed with good-for-the-body ingredients. Usually I shy away from cream pies because they're just so heavy and don't make me feel very good. This one is different! Avocado, nuts, dates, a bit of chocolate... sounds like lunch to me...
I hope you guys will enjoy this recipe as much as we have. It's truly so rich and creamy and decadent, yet is kind to your body. This pie is all about treating yourself right and enjoying life, just like the Honu do.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: Mauna Loa is a long-term partner and I receive free product. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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To make the crust: combine the dates, MacNuts, and coconut in a food processor, and process until the mixture just starts to make a sticky ball. For more detail on this, check out my Homemade Lara Bars, it's the same idea.
Spoon the crust mixture into a pie pan and press it down firmly, along both the bottom and the sides. You want to achieve an even layer that will stick together well, so press it hard. Then, let your crust sit in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before trying to spread filling over the top. Or, you can easily prep it in advance if you prefer.
To make the filling: start melting the chocolate chips over a double-boiler while you work on the other ingredients.
Cut open the avocados and remove the pits, then scoop the flesh out of the peel.
In a food processor, combine the avocado, maple syrup, cocoa powder, coconut cream, and coconut rum (if using). Process until you have a very smooth, pudding-like texture. Make absolutely sure there are no visible avocado chunks remaining!
Add the melted chocolate (let it cool a bit first, until it's barely warm) and process again just until combined.
Remove the crust from the freezer and place dollops of the filling across the surface. Spread it gently into an even layer, using a spatula; be delicate so as not to disturb the crust below.
Top your pie however you like. As shown here, I like to use coconut, MacNuts, and a drizzle of caramel, but do what makes you happy. (However, if you want to use whipped cream, wait and add it just before serving).
Cover the pie tightly and return it to the freezer. Freeze at least overnight, but several days is fine.
When you're ready to serve, remove the pie from the freezer and let it warm up for five minutes before slicing. If you want to add whipped cream, the time is now. As long as the pie is frozen, you'll be able to get neat, even slices.
Return any leftovers to the freezer, making sure they're tightly sealed. The pie will keep fine in the fridge but is much messier, so I suggest always using the freezer.