Thursday, June 11, 2009

Silken Chocolate Pie

This pie is fantastic. It's rich and creamy. It melts in your mouth yet cuts perfect slices. It's low-fat and has fewer calories per slice than a standard chocolate chip cookie, and more protein. It's tofu, baby.
It started with a recipe by Mark Bittman for chocolate tofu pudding. I've come across vegan chocolate pie recipes that consist of a bag of chocolate chips and block of tofu, but this one seemed a little more refined. I also had a bunch of biscotti crumbs I'd been saving and it was time to empty out the freezer in preparation for the big move... and I just happened to have a block of silken tofu in the bottom of my fridge that had to go, too. What's a girl to do?

Add liquor, for one thing. I had a small squeeze bottle of blended strong stuff that was left over from the beef cake. I also reduced the sugar and melted chocolate and added cocoa powder in its place, both because I wanted it to be a richer chocolate flavor and less pudding-like and because I didn't want to just throw out the last bit of cocoa powder in the pantry.

I love this recipe. I've now tried it out on friends, parents, in-laws, and a 4-year-old niece. With every group I told them part way through that the pie was tofu-based and they still finished it -- well my mother-in-law had already finished hers and I'm not sure if she would have -- but my dad sure did and he's not the tofu type... he's not even the chocolate type, actually, but he still liked it.
If you reduce the water and add more cocoa powder, you get something the consistency of chocolate truffles... I'm pretty excited about the possibilities.

Recipe: Silken Chocolate Pie

The picture is a small pie that I made in a 6” cast iron skillet, which used a half recipe of the filling and easily served 8. For the full recipe I used 3 tablespoons each rum and amaretto, then topped it off with water. The liquor boils off for the most part so it's safe for kids. I think brandy would work well, or crème de menthe for a grasshopper pie. You can also use all water… I'm still working on a crumb crust from scratch. I've tried to come up with one that doesn't have to be baked, but it hasn't really worked yet. You can use oil in place of the yogurt to make it non-dairy... but only if your crumbs are vegan to begin with.

Crumb crust:
1 1/2 cups cookie or cracker crumbs (I used my biscotti)
2 tablespoons fat-freet yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon rum or water

In a 9" pie pan, mash yogurt and rum into crumbs until they stick together. Add a little more yogurt if necessary. Use a dampened drinking glass or spoon to press the crumbs into place.

Pie filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup liquor and/or water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch salt
1 pound firm silken tofu

Chocolate shavings or additional cocoa powder, sifted, to garnish.

In a large glass measuring cup in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove, boil liquid and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add chocolate and let sit a minute or two until the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir in cocoa powder and salt, then transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender), add tofu, and puree until smooth. Pour into prepared crust, and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8-12 servings

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