Dessert Recipes by Julie Morris

Pumpkin-Lucuma Pie

pumpkin_lucuma_pieWith a busy holiday week ahead, I have little time to write a proper post, but I DID want to share a fabulous pie recipe with you. It seems every year I go on a personal quest to create a lower sugar, lower fat pumpkin pie, and this year I’m so pleased with the wonderful recipe that’s emerged.

To begin, it’s delicious. If you like pumpkin pie, you will love this one.

But this special pie has two pretty major healthy secrets underneath it’s tasty exterior. The first secret is the use of organic silken tofu (be sure to use an organic or a certified non GMO brand). Incorporating tofu in the place of eggs, cream, or even cashews, gives the pie a deceptive richness while making it very low in fat, lower in calories, and high in protein (WIN!). I’ve seen many plant-based pie recipes use this trick, and for good reason: it works. And incredibly, you won’t taste it a bit.

The second ingredient trick which I love even more however, is the use of lucuma powder. As I’ve mentioned before, this South American fruit provides a complex-flavored sweetness, yet is naturally very low in sugar. It also has a slightly squash-like undertone, meaning it is the PERFECT addition to a pumpkin pie! Using lucuma powder in this recipe means that though a very minimal amount of sugar is used (just a tablespoon per serving!) we can still retain all the traditional flavor. You can definitely feel proud serving this one up to your friends and family – for all the right reasons! Learn more about lucuma powder here.

Pumpkin Lucuma Pie

Makes 8 servings


1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 12.3 oz package organic silken tofu
½ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup lucuma powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon clove powder
1 prepared pie crust (preferably whole grain and dairy-free)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients – except the pie crust – and mix until completely smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust, and spread into a flat layer. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until the top has slightly browned and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, and let the pie cool completely to room temperature, to fully set. Slice and serve; will keep up to 4 days, unrefrigerated.

Serving suggestion: Make a coconut whip cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop out the separated cream from the water, and use a hand-held blender to whip the cream until slightly stiffened. Top the pie with coconut whip cream when ready to serve.

Japanese Pumpkin Pie (kabocha squash)

Don’t be afraid of using fabulous kabocha squash instead of traditional pumpkin – it adds a sweetness and flavor that surpasses any other squash for pie, and allows for a low sugar dessert recipe. Ingredient notes: agar agar is a seaweed that is available in most health food stores. It has no taste whatsoever, it’s simple to use, and it allows the pie filling to set in the refrigerator instead of the oven. Yacon syrup is a beneficial low glycemic sweetener extracted from the yacon root.

Japanese Pumpkin Pie (kabocha squash)

For the pie:
2 cups pureed cooked kabocha squash (Japanese Pumpkin)*
1¼ cups water
1½ Tbsp agar agar powder
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup yacon syrup
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup almond flour (you can make this by grinding almonds in a food processor)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp palm sugar

Make the crust first. Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a food processor, combine all the crust ingredients until a crumbly dough has formed. Dough should stick together when pressed – if not, add a touch more water. Press into a pie pan evenly, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the filling, bring the water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the agar agar powder, and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, or until powder is completely dissolved. Let cool for a moment, and pour into a blender.

Add the cashews into the agar mixture, and blend until a smooth milk has formed. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again to form a silky puree. Pour the warm mixture into the prepared pie crust, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until pie has set. Serve as desired.

*To make kabocha puree: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice a small squash in half and remove all the seeds and stringy material. Fill a baking tray with water about half an inch high. Place the the two halves face down in the water, place the tray in the oven, and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until squash is tender. Turn the squash upside down and let cool before handling.

Use a spoon to scrape out the orange flesh from the soft green rind. Place in a blender or food processor to whip into a puree. (The quantity for the above recipe is measured after the squash has been processed.)

Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars


Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars

Not too sweet, these one-layer moist lemon bars are an excellent grab-and-go energy snack at any time of the day.

1½ Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup oat flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp shredded dried coconut, divided
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup or agave nectar
½ cup packed soft medjool or honey dates, pitted (about 8-9)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 8×8” baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and chia seeds. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the oat flour, baking powder, salt, and ¾ cup coconut flakes. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and mix again until distributed.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, apple sauce, and agave nectar. Mix in the soaked chia seeds. Chop the pitted medjool dates finely, and mix in with the other wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until blended. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan, and use a spatula to flatten out the surface. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp coconut on top, patting them down lightly into the mixture.
Bake for 25-28 minutes, until edges begin to turn golden brown. Cut while warm into squares. Makes 16 2”x2” squares.

Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate

Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate

An instant new holiday tradition! If store-bought hemp milk is used as opposed to homemade, I recommend Living Harvest brand – it has a white, smooth viscosity that is ideal for this recipe. Rice milk works as well, but consider leaving out some of the water as rice milk it is naturally a thinner type of milk.

¼ cup water
1 cup unflavored hemp milk
1½ Tbsp shaved cacao butter
1½ tsp agave nectar, or to taste (stevia also makes a good substitute)
3-4 drops mint extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat all the ingredients over low for about 5 minutes (cacao butter should be entirely melted at the surface). Transport to a blender and blend for 30 seconds to emulsify cacao butter into the beverage. Or, keep liquid in pan and use a hand-held blender to whisk directly in the saucepan. Serves one.

Natural benefits: low sugar, omega fats

Sweet Seed Candies

Sweet Seed Candies

Similar to the traditional Greek sesame candy “Pasteli,” which is made with honey and sesame seeds, these superfood candies take advantage of yacon syrup’s more complex flavor and healthy benefits. Crunchy and chewy at the same time, these all-natural candies are addictingly delicious. If you cannot find pre-roasted/toasted sesame seeds, use raw ones — just pop them in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees ahead of time.


½ cup  yacon syrup
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup toasted sesame seeds

Oil a baking tray.

Over medium-low heat, warm the yacon syrup for a minute until it gets bubbly. Reduce the heat to low, add the seeds, and simmer for 3-4 minutes longer, stirring constantly.

Spread the mixture onto the pre-oiled tray into about a ¼ inch layer. Let cool completely (about 15-20 minutes). Use kitchen scissors to cut into squares or desired shape. Makes about 2 dozen candies.

healthy benefits: gluten-free, calcium, protein, essential fatty acids, low(er) sugar, prebiotics (healthy digestion)

© 2009

Apple Pear Energy Tartlets

Apple Pear Energy Tartlets

As mentioned in my blog post, feel free to substitute like crazy in this quick recipe. Another great energy bar to use instead of the Vibrancy bars are Larabars (Apple Pie flavor), though you may have to use one additional bar for the recipe as they are smaller. The Vibrancy bars are my favorite from a nutritional standpoint, plus the gentle crunch from the sprouted buckwheat they contain is absolutely ideal for the base of a tart.

And of course, simply doubling the recipe and making one large tart works all day long.

1 medium sweet crunchy apples (aka Fuji or Gala)
1 medium soft pear (aka Barlett or bosc)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
1 Tbsp yacon syrup (optional)
3 Vega Whole Food Vibrancy Bars, Original Flavor


Make the filling: chop the apples and the pear into a fine mince. Toss with pumpkin pie spice and yacon syrup until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble: Using a standard-sized muffin tin or tartlet molds,  tuck a layer of saran wrap into a cup to use as a mold. Break off half of an energy bar.  Press the bar firmly into the cup, coaxing the bar “dough” evenly along the bottom and up the sides about 1/2 inch with your fingers to form a tartlet base. Use the saran-wrap to remove the packed base from the muffin tin, then peel away plastic. Use the plastic again to form the remainder of the tartles. Liberally spoon in the apple-pear filling evenly inside of the each of the tartlet crusts and serve.

Makes 6 three inch tartlets

Healthy benefits: protein, antioxidants, high fiber, dairy-free, gluten-free


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