Pie in the Sky: Vegan Coconut-Carob Pie

>> Monday, January 18, 2010

I did a little cooking in the kitchen with Richard Simmons this weekend. If this statement sounds incredibly strange/unexpected to you, go check out last month's post about Mr. Simmons great book of desserts. Basically, I have an entire book full of the guy's most "dazzling desserts" -- and I'm not afraid to say I think they look scrumptious. From cookies, to cakes, to pies and other traditionally wicked-high-in-calories creations, Richard takes care making them with less sugar and fat, but not less taste.

Now that you're up to speed, I chose to start my culinary quest with the "My, oh, my! Chocolate Mousse Pie" from the "Pie in the Sky" chapter -- however, make it in my own, vegan way . . . and not with chocolate (or gelatin, evaporated skim milk, etc.) at all. The pie's about as natural and detox-appropriate as you can get (OK. Again, not a true detox, but if you HAVE to eat some kind of dessert -- this one's not full of crap).

Instead, I whipped up this delicious coconut-carob pie. Carob because Stephen loves the stuff (and because I spent a mint on a gargantuan container of chips at Greenstar this weekend). Coconut because I thought the pairing would be, well, a match made in heaven.

What do you think?

Richard writes:

"Like so many of my culinary introductions, I first met a chocolate mousse when I was a child, in a fancy New Orleans hotel, the Roosevelt. Anyway, it was love at first taste, even though I wasn't quite sure what to make of it."

Oh, Richard.

"Was there a Mr. Mousse who created it for Mrs. Mousse, like the great chef who created the fabulous meringue dessert for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova? Could I use the leftovers in my hair?"

I've made vegan chocolate mousse before (it's a simple blending of tofu, chocolate, and a bit of honey or agave). However, in that particular instance, I used soft tofu, didn't drain . . . and the next day, my pie was a big pile of goo -- full of water. Disgusting!

It's vital that you use firm silken tofu, or you -- too -- will have a tremendous mess to clean. And no pie to eat.

What you'll need . . . (for the crust)
  • 8 graham cracker rectangles (I had a ton left over from my s'mores binge this summer. Yes. Graham crackers have honey in them. I know some people don't feel honey is vegan. When I was vegan, though, I ate honey.)
  • 1/3 cup (heaping) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Break up graham crackers and place in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs.
  3. Add coconut flakes and pulse until well mixed.
  4. Add agave and coconut oil and pulse until well moistened. (It will still SEEM a little dry, but if everything is coated in some wet ingredients, you're good to go on to the next step. If not, add a bit more agave or oil, 1 teaspoon at a time).
  5. Turn into a 9-inch springform pan (I used a tart pan). Spread crumbs evenly over bottom of pan and 1-1/2 inches up the sides.
  6. Cover with piece of plastic wrap and press crust firmly. Remove plastic.
  7. Bake crust for 5 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely. (I actually put my crust in the refrigerator to speed up the process.)

What you'll need . . . (for the chocolate mousse filling)
  • 12 ounce package firm silken tofu (If you've never used tofu in desserts before, I realize it can sound gross. But it's not at all! It soaks up whatever flavor you put with it. Trust me. You'll love it!)
  • 8 ounces vegan carob chips
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (depending on how much you like coconut)

Method . . .
  1. Take the tofu out of its package and press with a clean paper towel (to get the last bits of moisture off).
  2. Melt carob chips in a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium) until smooth.
  3. Put tofu, carob, agave, and coconut in your food processor and blend until well mixed.
  4. Pour "mousse" into chilled pie shell and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until set.

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