Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

There's been a lot of talk going around the 'net about how some people are making a bigger deal of holidays than they really should. Particularly minor holidays and "made up" holidays. With the popularity of facebook and pinterest and all kinds of other social media "brag" sites, it seems that there are a number of people out there who feel like it's unnecessary pressure and expectations to create big, elaborate celebrations out of every tiny thing.

Me? Any celebration that involves food, you know I'm in. Because why not add a little fun to each day? Especially when it's fun of the delicious variety!

So earlier this month, on March 14th (3/14), it was Pie Day. For us  math nerds. Pie = pi = 3.14 = 3/14. Get it? And... it's an excuse to eat pie!!

I'd originally wanted to have pie for each meal that day. Starting with quiche for breakfast. But little miss doesn't like quiche. And little man can't eat it. And daddy can't have the crust. So I'd have been making 4 totally different quiche-style breakfasts. Umm... never mind. So I decided to concentrate on dinner. We had pizza. Pizza pie. It works, right? Individual pizzas - daddy's with a cauliflower (carb free) crust, little man's dairy free. Easy enough to customize.

Then I got to concentrate on dessert.

I made a dairy free pie crust using coconut oil instead of butter (based on this recipe), then set to planning my fillings. For one pie, I made a Dutch apple pie. Again, dairy free.

But for the second, I wanted something more decadent.  So I decided on chocolate.

I've had my eye on vegan cream pies for a while. Vegan cheesecakes, vegan chocolate cream pies... the recipes all say how totally simple they are. But they all include an ingredient that... well... I've never used before... and that several members of my family who shall remain nameless would not want to try if they knew it was there.

No, it's not those melted chocolate chips I'm showing you. It's what they get blended with in the food processor.

And if you've ever made a vegan pie, you probably know what it is.


Yup - silken tofu. It holds things together, gives the pie body, and takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. And it's really just that easy.

Blend everything together and pour it in the pre-baked crust!

Then I made the mistake of letting everyone eat it all before taking more photos.


But I promise - it was delicious, it sliced up like a dream, and even my tofu-fearing family absolutely loved it! Which is encouraging me to try to make other vegan pies, too!

So tell me - did you celebrate Pie Day?

Coconut Oil Pie Crust
(slightly adapted from Coconut Recipes)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice cold water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar, then cut in the coconut oil unti lthe mixture resembles coarse sand. You can do this manually (whisk the dry ingredients, use two knives to cut in the coconut oil) or with a food processor. Slowly mix in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together (if using food processor, stop as soon as it forms a ball). Divide the dough into two portions, shape each into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. You can put the dough into the refrigerator if you are not ready to roll it out just yet, but you will need to let it warm up a bit, as the coconut oil firms up in the cold and is difficult to roll out.

To bake the pie crust to prepare to make the pie here, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, take one of the discs of dough, roll it to fit your pie plate (I use a 9-inch pie plate) anad gently fit it in, shaping the edges as you'd like.  Line the pie crust with either parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. You do not need "formal" pie weights - you can use dried beans (though you can't cook them for eating afterwards -I just save them in a baggie and reuse them as pie weights) or I read that you can use un-popped popcorn kernals, which you're supposed to be able to stil pop afterwards! Either way,  make sure you weigh down the crust a bit so that it doesn't puff up while baking. Bake for about 15 minutes (you can peek in - the edges should just start getting golden brown), then carefully remove the parchment/foil with the pie weights and bake for an additional 5 minutes to get the center a bit golden as well.  Cool before filling.

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie
(from care2.com)

Prepared baked pie crust of choice
2 cups chocolate chips
1 package silken tofu, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate chips using your preferred method (mmicrowave, double boiler - whatever you like!). Once the chocolate is melted, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until fully blended and smooth.
Pour filling into prepared (and cooled!) pie crust and place the pie in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.


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