In stolen moments before bed and the increasing wide-awake hours of the early morning, I've been slowly absorbing Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping. It is the kind of work that wiggles its way deep into the mind, settling in slowly before revealing itself for what it is. I told the co-worker who recommended it to me that I have been carrying the words around like a precious gift, one whose significance I do not yet understand.
Last night, I woke at 1:30 AM. After an hour of tossing and turning, my mind helplessly sifting through to-do lists, I flicked on the light and picked up the book.
"When we did not move or speak, there was no proof that we were there at all."
Inhale. Exhale. Be still. The world goes on, it can afford to allow us to withdraw, if only for a moment. And, in that moment, it will forget us and we can rest. If only for a moment.
This pie walks a line between wholesomeness and extravagance. Cashews and oats and coconut milk are it's primary ingredients, but it is sweetened with sugar - powdered sugar at that. The filling is divinely creamy and rich, the coconut whip cream a heavenly pillow of silk.
While not meant to taste like the shockingly sweet oatmeal cream pie cookies of our youth, it is inspired by them, so the crust, which can be left "raw" or may be baked for a short period of time, is chewy rather than soft or crunchy. If left raw, the crust will be quite soft and toothsome. If baked, it will be slightly more resistant and firm.
Oatmeal Cream Pie
For the crust:
2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free if needed)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
For the filling:
2 cups cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the coconut whipped cream:
1 can full-fat coconut milk, cream top only*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)
*Refrigerate the coconut milk overnight to ensure that the cream separates from the coconut water.
1. If you would like to bake your crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use coconut oil to grease the bottom and sides of a pie pan or a springform pan.
2. In a food processor, pulse together the oats, coconut oil, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves until the mixture begins to stick together. If necessary, add a bit more coconut oil or molasses so that it holds together when you pinch it.
3. Pour into the prepared pan and press down firmly with your fingers. If you are opting for the "raw" crust, set aside. Otherwise, bake for 6-8 minutes, until just puffy. You will feel that the crust is not done, but do not over bake as it will make it difficult to slice. Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
4. In a food processor, combine cashews and almond milk. Process until smooth. Add coconut milk, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar a little at a time until the filling has a thickened consistency and is sweetened to your liking. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
5. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat coconut cream together with the vanilla and powdered sugar until peaks form, this will take 3-5 minutes. Spoon over top of the pie.
6. Drizzle with molasses and cashews, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Here's to a lovely weekend of pie and moments of retreat.