Something about feeling the hot Summer sun on my skin is so soothing to me. I have always, my whole life, found solace in this season. As a little girl, I remember coming alive in these months. Chasing my older brothers around as they played soccer in our backyard with friends, and spending hours upon hours outside with my childhood best friend, Angela. Watching my Mom and Dad garden together in the evenings. I distinctly remember the deep contentment I felt in those days, covered in dirt and bruises. Still to this day, every time I walk outside and am greeted by the warmth of the sun, I feel that contentment. I have an ongoing love affair with the hot Summer sun, and I believe that I always will.
Another reason I love the next three months : the fruit. Oh, the fruit. Saturday morning, I woke up early and headed to the farmers market, in hopes of buying a pint or two each of blueberries and blackberries. Before 9 o' clock. Which, with two small children and my time management skills, is always an incredible feat. I really wanted those berries :) We made it there on time, and as Andreas, Lucía and I walked around the market with our berries, I caught myself smiling from ear to ear. Thinking of how many people are now making the effort to eat locally here. To feed their children locally. All the people carrying on conversations with the farmers so carefully growing the food they're eating. I thought of how those farmers are able to make a living doing what they love, and I remembered Toby and I bringing Andreas to the very same market a few years ago. A market not many people went to, or knew about. Now, hundreds of people visit it each Saturday. It completely warmed my heart. I drove home feeling so refreshed and inspired, as usual.
Once I got home, I set the berries on the counter and started to nibble on a few. They are so delicious by themselves, but I wanted to create something special with them. Something raw, so we'd enjoy the full benefit and nutrition of the berries (because in the words of my Mom, baking with them would be a crime. I happen to agree). Occasionally, I will bake with fruit, but I much prefer to it raw, bursting with enzymes. Especially since it's local, and expensive :)
My cashew cheesecake came to mind. Maybe a creamy, cashew filling with berries mixed in, and on top? It all came together so quickly, which is one good thing about this pie. It's so easy. Once I tasted it, I was more than pleased. As was Andreas, considering he stole two slices out of the pan when I wasn't looking :) Even Lucía loved it. This is such a wonderful way to use your fresh berries all summer. The filling is sweet, but not too sweet, with a hint of lemon and vanilla. So creamy, too. Paired with the tart berries and delicious coconut crust, it is a little slice of Summer on a plate.
for the crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked and drained
8 oz. raw, flaked coconut
1 heaping tbsp. raw honey or agave
2 heaping tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt
for the filling:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained
1/2 cup raw honey or agave
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. extract)
pinch of sea salt
3 cups fresh blueberries and blackberries
To begin, place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and grind them. Add the coconut and process for a minute or so. Then add in the honey, coconut oil and salt. Process until everything is incorporated. Remove from bowl and press into the bottom and side of a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.
Next, place the cashews and about 1/4 cup filtered water in the pitcher of a blender. Blend well, then slowly add in the lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and salt. Add a little more water, if you need to. Blend until very creamy. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in about half of the filling. Scatter about half of the berries on top, then the rest of the filling. Arrange the remaining berries on top. Place in the freezer for a few hours, and leave at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, up to a few days.