Recipe: RAW Pecan Torte with Chocolate Ganache

March 24th, 2009 - filed under: The Food » Recipes



Who said RAW had to be boring?!  Nu-uh, no way!  This decadent dessert – rich, silken chocolate inside its delicate shell - is downright delicious.  Divine Creation I say, not just because it tastes so good, but because it’s so good for you, too!  

Raw cacao powder is teeming with antioxidants – over 5 times as many as blueberries!  Cacao is also the best natural source of magnesium, which is the primary mineral deficiency in SAD eaters (Standard American Diet).  Cacao is believed to reduce cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and inflammation.  

Coconut oil is pure fat, just like any oil.  But as we all know, ‘not all fats are created equal’.  Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid, a rare, healthier medium-chain lipid that’s also found in breast milk.  This oil is also an incredible antimicrobial (bacteria, fungi, viruses) and aides in combatting everything from candida to HIV.

Raw agave and dates are both low-glycemic sweeteners, so they won’t rock your system with a blood sugar spike-and-crash cycle.  Additionally, dates are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorous, and are a great *ahem* digestive aid.

Do I even need to review the infinite health benefits associated with nuts?  A quick favorite for each: Pecans boast the ideal oleic (‘good’)/linoleic (‘bad’) fatty acid ratio, which contributes to lower weight and cholesterol.  A handful of cashews is essentially the biochemical equivalent of a prescription prozac.  No joke!

Still not convinced that RAW =/= boring?  Just make this.  Taste it.  I dare you!




Raw Pecan Torte with Chocolate Ganache

Originally by Chef Sprout, embellished by Laurie Lane, re-embellished by Me!


Ingredients for Crust:

2 cups pecans

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup raw coconut oil

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Ingredients for Filling:

2 cups pre-soaked cashews

1 cup raw cacao powder

1 cup water

1/2 cup raw coconut oil

1/2 cup raw agave nectar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt



Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and blend until evenly moist. Grease a torte or pie pan with coconut oil and spread the crust with your fingers.

Combine all filling ingredients in the [cleaned] food processor, blending until very smooth. Pour filling into the crust and freeze or refrigerate until firm (1-3 hours). Garnish with fresh mint or berries.




^^And those?^^  I had quite a bit of excess ganache, so I poured it into two teacups, whipped up a quick ‘frosting’ of almond butter, coconut oil, and agave syrup, topped off the teacups, and threw them in the fridge to chill out.








  • Kate

    holy crap that looks amazing.

  • Libby

    It IS amazing! Think of the best chocolate cake you’ve had then multiply the pleasure by ten. I can’t believe it’s raw and vegan!

  • Bartlebee

    This looks great but I don’t know where i’d find some cacao here :/ I might do it with normal cocoa if that’ll work..

  • Sayward

    @ Kate – Dude, just wait till you try it!

    @ Libby – haha, ‘multiply the pleasure by ten’ = exactly!

    @ Bartlebee – The 2 hardest ingredients to find are the raw cacao powder and the raw cacao nibs. Most ‘real’ health food stores (not like faux health supermarkets, but actual co-ops and the like) will these sorts of products. They’re also available to order all over the internet. If you are wanting to eat more raw foods, it’s worth investing in a stockpile of cacao powder and nibs, coconut oil, and real raw agave. These things are expensive up front but they go a long way, and man do they make all the difference!

  • sarah von

    Oh good lord. Those look amazing! And I´m going to cling to the fact that they are raw and there ore “healthy” and allow myself to make and eat several.

  • Angela Leeds

    omg. i have to try these out.

    brilliant! gorgeous photos as well…as usual. :D

  • Sayward

    @ Sarah Von – They *are* healthy! Everything in moderation, I suppose, but really in the context of a healthy diet, these are just fine for you. Also, it is quite rich and a little goes a long way, which is nice. This puppy fed my husband and I, plus I took some to a friend, for over a week!

    @ Angela – Let me know how it works! And especially if you add different flavors or topping.

    And thanks!

  • sacredcrayon

    This looks amazing. I’ve been vegetarian for the last ten years, and from tomorrow I’m starting a dairy and wheat free diet under instructions from my doctors. I’ve been dreading it all weekend, thinking about all the nice chocolatey things I’ll be missing. I think this might have to be the first thing I make! You’ve made my day – thank you!

  • FoodRenegade

    You somehow managed to combine all of my favorite, nutrient-dense foods into a fabulous looking dessert!

    I can’t wait to try it.

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  • Onie

    can’t wait to try this! oh.. and I love your tea cups!!!

  • Sayward

    @ sacredcrayon – Congratulations on going dairy-free! I bet you’re going to feel absolutely amazing. And no way do you have to give up chocolate! Haha, there would have been a vegan revolt long ago if that were the case. =)

    @ FoodRenegade – Thanks Kristin, let me know how it turns out for you and if you make any yummy modifications!

    @ Onie – Thanks! The tea cups have mine and my husbands first name initial, so cute! Let me know how the torte turns out for you!

  • bridgetg

    I’m so glad I stumbled on this – It looks great! I haven’t yet made the full switch to vegan, (it’s a bit tough with a college meal plan :-/ ) but I’m trying to at least reduce my intake of animal products, and I’m definitely going to have to shanghai my friend’s kitchen to make one of these!

    and you mean to soak the nuts in water, right? That’s probably a silly question but I’ve messed up enough recipes in the past to know that it’s best to ask!


  • Sayward

    @ bridgetg – Yes, sorry if it wasn’t clear – you soak the nuts in plain water. It just softens them up so they’ll blend smoother and create a creamier chocolate, mmm. =)

    Good luck with the veganism! Remember, it’s not ‘all-or-nothing’ and every little bit helps, so don’t get discouraged. Anyone who’s being mindful of the impact of their diet is miles ahead of most – so congrats!

  • Henriette

    Well I´ll never be a vegan again – but this look soooo good- can´t wait to try it ! Thanks ;)

  • Sayward

    @ Henriette – That’s okay, the awesome thing about vegan food is that *everyone* can enjoy it! It’s a win-win. =)

  • maxo

    Great recipe. I would like to add that I tried it with grapeseed oil instead of coconut oil, and honey in the place of agave nectar with fabulous results. I wanted to cut down on the food miles, and both are local items here. Wish cacoa was local, alas.

  • vraiment

    agave nectar is not exactly a common ingredient in my neck of the woods (rural saskatchewan)…anything else a person could use in it’s place? Because it sure does look and sound great.

  • raisedbyrobots

    I can’t wait to try this!
    I love dates, but I thought they were very high-glycemic?
    I want to believe they’re low tho… could you direct me to your information source?
    Many Thanks!

  • Celia

    What if I left out the dates in the crust… (I’m not a fan) – would it still stick together with the coconut oil in there? This sounds wonderful thank you…

  • Sayward

    @ maxo – Awesome, thanks for the heads up. I’m always a fan of eating locally! =)

    @ vraiment – Absolutely! I would definitely recommend pure, grade B maple syrup as an alternate sweetener. It’s much healthier than refined sugar and is sticky/viscose like agave. If you are not vegan, honey would work okay as well, but of course I’d recommend non-animal ingredients if you can.

    @raisedbyrobots – Maybe there is confusion regarding glycemic index vs glycemic load, and whether you are concerned with carbs for weight loss or insulin-related issues. I meant that agave and dates are both diabetic-friendly sweeteners (will not cause insulin spikes). Here are a couple of research articles if you are interested:

    The glycemic index of dates and date/yoghurt mixed meals

    Glycemic index of 3 varieties of dates

    @ Celia – You might want to try replacing the dates with some other binder, like raisins, dried cherries or apricots, or something along those lines. At the very least, I’d increase the coconut oil. Yum!

  • jo

    I substituted half of the dates for dried apricots. I didn’t have enough pecans and used almonds as well.

    The torte was delicious!!! I loved the ganache and it was a total crowd pleaser! Thanks so much for sharing! This will make a regular appearance in my kitchen.

  • Lady Bee

    This looks so lovely! I am currently non dairy (so yay for this recipe) but also cannot eat cashews or peanuts, other nuts are fine. Which would you suggest to replace the cashews? Thanks!

  • Sayward

    @ Jo – Mmm, I bet the apricots added a delicious sweet/tart element! I’m going to have to try that. =)

    @ Lady Bee – I would say another light colored, softer nut like hazelnuts or brazil nuts would work nicely. Maybe even pine nuts? I’d probably go with hazelnuts though. Make sure you soak them, and let me know how it works out!

  • Yum!

    You can get the raw nibs and cacao from and submit your recipes online too to share with others!

  • Mike D

    Hey, thanks a lot for the recipe. I was the first, (i’m 24, about 12 years now), of now a full family of vegetarians with a couple of vegans sprinkled in. This is a dish that makes EVERYONE happy. A dessert to fool the best of them too. Serious contention for the best vegetarian dessert i’ve tasted and easily the best vegan one. Seriously good work

  • Sayward

    @ Yum – I let the spam thru ’cause it’s pretty relevant. Yay!

    @ Mike D – Thank you SO much! I’m glad your whole family liked it! =)

  • cordelia_sue

    I made this last night for the first time, and brought the torte to a friend’s party, something I rarely if ever do with untested recipes. I had the utmost faith in your recipe, and it was not unfounded. It was delicious! I love that it’s so healthy and so decadent. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ms. Joy

    I gotto go home early just to try this…

    I have a great time reading this.. Thanks for sharing..

  • Brigida

    This is your only recipe i’ve read, but I am subscribing to you. Thanks for the visions of raw heaven. Where I live doesn’t even need a fridge if I let it set overnight.

  • Sayward

    @ Brigida – Yay! Welcome to the site! Where do you live?

  • Sarah I.

    So I skipped the torte and just went for the ganache cups (sans frosting). I subbed hazelnuts for the cashews, added a splash of homemade almond milk for added smoothness, and a few generous pinches of cinnamon. SO OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD. This treat served as much-needed therapy after a week spent stuck indoors with two sick little boys.

    Out of curiosity, is there something you recommend in lieu of coconut oil? I like it in some things, but in others the flavor is a bit overwhelming. I’m having trouble thinking of something else that’s semi-solid at room temp though..

  • Sayward

    @ Sarah I. – Yes, that is tough! It’s such a specific texture. I mean, I’m sure you could just use soaked cashews, which would be similar enough (but definitely less “mousse-y”. The other thing that comes to mind is Irish moss paste, which is totally awesome and amazing and quite healthy, but is also sort of exotic and intimidating and weird, so I’m not sure about recommending it. It would work for sure though, if you want to give it a try!

  • Newbie

    Question: is there a cheaper substitute for pecans? Also, how long do the cashews need to be soaked? I’m new at eating raw foods…thanks for this recipe, I can’t wait to try it!!

  • Newbie

    Also, the ingredients cost me about $25, do y’all find this is the norm, or am I shopping at the wrong places?

  • Sayward Rebhal

    The ingredients can be a lot when you’re starting up. Once your pantry is stocked, it will seem more reasonable (or, are you saying you only bought exact amounts for this recipe, and it cost you $25 specifically to make this pie?)

    For the pecans, you can replace with walnuts (in most raw recipes). You can also replace dates with raisins. Both of these will reduce the cost (though the flavor will suffer a bit).

    Soak cashews at least 2 hours, ideally more than 4.


  • AlabamaMidwife

    I know im 2 years late on this recipe having just found your yumminess..but this is an awesome recipe..THANKS! one question-sometimes the filling did not want to stick to the crust.. is there a trick for this?
    thanks again for some great recipes!!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hmm, I’ve never had that problem! I don’t know what to tell you – sorry! Wish I could be more help.

  • Cfarq

    I substituted almonds and walnuts for the pecans and it turned out amazing. This recipe is soooo good!!!

  • Ashley

    should the coconut oil be melted when measuring? :)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Yes! =D

  • Elizabeth

    Hi—just wanted to let you know I included your recipe in a round up of healthier torte recipes on Thanks!

  • Neko

    I am addicted to raw desserts and I’ve had this bookmarked to make for a good long while. Now that I finally have a decent stockpile of coconut oil, cacao, nuts, etc, I’m thinking of giving it a shot (after I finish the pan of raw brownies in my fridge!).

    I do have one question – does this recipe freeze well (texture, etc)? I was thinking about making mini tarts and putting most of them in the freezer, because I don’t think I’d be able to eat this whole pie in a decent amount of time. If the freezer is a no-go, about how long do you think this will last in the fridge? My husband isn’t the biggest raw fan but I think he will LOVE this (and I’m really interested in making those ganache cups, too).

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It freezes splendidly. And I’d bet money your husband will love it!

  • Caroline

    I’ve put a Christmas twist on this recipe. I just use the crust part, add some rum and voila! The healthiest rum balls you’ve ever had!

  • Britt!

    Oh my goodness, that sounds soooooooo goooooooooood……!

  • Pingback: National Pecan Torte Day - A Holiday Chef

  • Leith

    Has anyone tried substituting the agave with pure maple syrup? I don’t use agave as a sweetener, but would love to try this recipe! Thanks!