I was mad craving chocolate the other day (what else is new), and was casually browsing through the dessert section of my vegan cookbooks (aka salivating at the glorious professional photographs of food porn). I stumbled upon this intriguing recipe, which I noticed had chocolate. And cashews. And tofu (the secret ingredient). And vanilla extract and maple syrup. And did I mention chocolate?
Came home from work today with a few hours to spare, something you always need when you’re deciding whether or not to bake, and decided to just go for it. Twas a delightful endeavor, totes worth it.
Before I start, I should emphasize that you betta looooove chocolate if you’re planning to make this. Because I have some crazy people that happen to be related to me that aren’t “chocolate fans” (I won’t name any names), and that was their complaint about this dessert. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For the crust:
- 1/2 c raw whole cashews
- 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 1.5 c semisweet chocolate chips
- 1.5 firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu from whole foods)
- 3/4 c pure maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the whipped cream:
- 1 container extra-firm silken tofu
- 1/4 c pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 c apple juice
- 1 tbsp agar agar flakes (we’ll get to this later) (basically it’s a vegetarian gelatin that I didn’t use but should have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar)
- pinch of salt
Start with the crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat in 9-in pie dish with oil. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely ground (our food processor is mysteriously missing, so I had to use a mortar and pestle. good times). Stir the ground cashews and the flour in a large bowl to blend. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the oil mixture into the cashew-flour mixture to blend.
Press the mixture into the prepared pie dish. Bake until the crust is set and pale golden around the edges, about 20 minutes. Then decrease the oven to 325
Filling: While the crust is baking, stir the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 10-15 minutes. Puree the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a food processor until smooth. Blend in the melted chocolate, making sure the mixture is well-blended (not too lumpy). Pour the chocolate mixture into the prebaked pie crust.
Bake until the edges puff and dry but the rest of the filling is glossy, about 45 minutes. Don’t worry if the edge of the crust looks a little crumbly (it will be but the rest of the crust is fine), and if the filling is still jiggling after baking. Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
While it’s refrigerating, you can start making the tofu whipped cream!
So usually I try and be crafty when I’m cooking/baking and purposely don’t include ingredients that I either don’t like or sound expensive and fancy. Like agar agar flakes. For some reason the sound of them reminded me of fish food. No thanks. Turns out they’re like super necessary to give the whipped cream the right consistency. Of course you need the weird, exotic ingredient to make it work. Of course. So my whipped cream was basically watery tofu with some sugar, but it wasn’t bad.
Here’s what you’re supposed to do. Blend the tofu, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Then combine the juice, agar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the agar dissolves. Immediately blend the hot agar mixture into the tofu mixture, and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Chocolate silk pacman!
Okay, this might not win the aesthetic appeal award. It may not look so good, but it is light and chocolatey and fantastic, trussst.
Whipped cream? More like tofu juice.
A slice of the moist pie with the tofu juice. I mean, if that’s doesn’t sound appetizing to you, I don’t know what would be…
This treat also can be enjoyed with (vanilla) coconut milk!