Chocolate Caramel Nut Pie

This is the ultimate dinner party dessert to share with friends and family.  It is the final recipe created for Eight Hour Studio and is based around 'Play' - what better note to finish on?  It’s been a firm winner when I’ve shared it with friends and family (‘Free From or not) – nobody can believe the secret ingredient! The base is delicious and can be used for any number of pies/tarts - toasting the oats and nuts gives it a great depth of flavour.

Ingredients
Serves 10

Base
40g almonds, roasted
120g macadamias, plus a handful to be used later, roasted
120g oats, toasted
4tbsp coconut oil
8 medjool dates, pitted
Pinch Himalayan/sea salt

Caramel
8 dates, pitted and soaked
4tbsp coconut milk
Small pinch Himalayan/sea salt

Filling
4 avocados, de-stoned and flesh scooped out
75g cacao powder
2tbsp coconut oil
3tbsp cashew butter
6-7tbsp brown rice syrup (or raw honey)

Sprinkles
Handful cacao nibs
Handful toasted macadamias, crushed and lightly salted
Rose petals (optional)

Method

You will need: a food processor and a 7” loose bottomed tin (bigger is fine but your pie wont be as deep)

Start by soaking the dates for the caramel in a bowl, covered with boiling water – just enough to cover the dates.

To make the base:
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Line the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper.
- Place the almonds in a roasting tray and roast for approx. 5 minutes.  Add the macadamias to the tray and roast for another 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Keep an eye as the macadamias can catch and burn very quickly.  Remove the handful of extra macadamias and set aside.
- Toast the oats in a dry pan on a medium heat for 5-7, tossing throughout.  Again, you are looking to reach golden brown.
- Place the nuts, oats, coconut oil, dates and salt in a food processor and blitz until you are left with a medium crumb that sticks together when pressed between two fingers.
- Empty the mix (scraping the food processor bowl clean, as you will be using it for the next stage) into the tin and smooth with the back of a metal spoon.  As you are smoothing, work the mixture up the sides of the tin to create the walls.  Keep going until you are left with a smooth surface and compact, level walls. The base and walls should be no more than 1cm thick.
- Place in the fridge to set.  This should take no longer than the time it takes to make the caramel and chocolate filling.

To make the caramel:
- Drain the dates and place in the food processor along with the coconut milk and salt.  Blitz until smooth, for approx. 2-3 minutes.  You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice.
- Empty into in a bowl (again, scraping the bowl clean as you will be using the food processor again) and place in the fridge.

To make the chocolate filling:
- Blitz all ingredients in the food processor until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.

To make the crushed and salted macadamias (for the sprinkles):
- Crush the handful of extra roasted macadamias in a pestle and mortar or in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin and add a tiny pinch of salt.

To make the pie:
- Spoon half the chocolate mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth level with the back of a metal spoon.
-Spoon half the caramel (saving the other half for serving) on top of the chocolate, smoothing to an even layer, leaving a little gap around the edge.
- Spoon the rest of the chocolate mixture on top of the caramel in even dollops around the circle – this will make it easier to smooth without disturbing the caramel too much.  Smooth gently with the back of the spoon of a palette knife, finishing with a circular pattern.
- Top with half the sprinkles, saving the other half for serving.

Cover the pie with cling film and refrigerate until needed.  The pie will last in the fridge for 3 days and can be made in advance.

To Serve
- Slice the pie and serve on a plate with a dollop of caramel and some extra sprinkles.


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