>> 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?
"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."
"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
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Break up graham crackers and place in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs.
- Add coconut flakes and pulse until well mixed.
- 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).
- 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.
- Cover with piece of plastic wrap and press crust firmly. Remove plastic.
- 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 . . .
- Take the tofu out of its package and press with a clean paper towel (to get the last bits of moisture off).
- Melt carob chips in a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium) until smooth.
- Put tofu, carob, agave, and coconut in your food processor and blend until well mixed.
- Pour "mousse" into chilled pie shell and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until set.