Last week the first Turkish figs found their way into the grocery stores around our place. I couldn’t resist buying some, as I love fresh figs for their vibrant colours and their mild taste. I’ve eaten most of them as a snack or cut them into my breakfast muesli. But with their colourful appearance they also deserve someting special, don’t you think? A couple of weeks ago I started experimenting a bit with making my own nut milks and with making healthier desserts. These mini pies are one of the results. In this recipe raw nuts are the base both for the custard-like filling in the pie and for the crust. That way you will have a use for the milk and for the nut pulp at the same time. The pie crusts are made from oats, nuts, and figs, so there’s no refined sugar and no oil or margarine involved. The custard combines a mild hazelnut flavour with fresh yoghurt and a pinch of ginger.
Hazelnut-Ginger Mini Pies with Figs
Hazelnut Milk (yield: 1 2/3 cups)
70 g hazelnuts (1/2 cup), soaked over night in
480 ml (2 cups) water
1 T maple syrup
In your food processor, blend together hazelnuts and water. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and pour hazelnut mixture though the strainer into a bowl.
240 ml (1 cup) hazelnut milk
2 T tapioca starch*
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
120 ml (1/2 cup) soy yoghurt
1/2 T bourbon vanilla powder (or 1 t vanilla extract)
1/4 t ginger powder
In a small saucepan combine milk, tapioca starch, and rice syrup in a saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until mixture thickens and gets a pudding-like consistency.
Remove from heat, stir in yoghurt, vanilla, and ginger. Let cool completely.
*This custard will come out quite runny, more like thin yoghurt. I like it that way, but if you want a thicker version, add another T of tapioca.
Mini Pie Shells (makes 4)
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
4 mini pie pans, 10 cm diameter (4 inch)
55 g (1/2 cup) oats, ground into a course flour + 2 T oats, not ground.
reserved hazelnut pulp
100 g (1/2 cup packed) dates
4 T hazelnut milk
1 t lemon peel
1 T lime juice
1/4 t salt
In your food processor, puree dates and hazelnut milk until smooth. In a bowl, combine the other ingredients, stir, and add dates. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Divide the dough into four parts, grease pie pans, and press dough into pans.
Bake for 12-14 minutes and carefully remove crusts from their pans. Let cool.
Cut two figs into thin slices.
Fill the pie crusts with custard and top with three fig slices. Serve immediately.