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Look!  It’s a pie!  A dark chocolate silk pie with caramelized bananas on top!  And guess what!  It’s…VEGAN!

No, I am not vegan.  I have a friend who is, though.  She somewhat recently decided for health reasons that it would be better to abstain from animal products as much as possible.  I guess you wouldn’t call her a true vegan because she will eat cheese or meat or some other kind of animal products now and then.  Like I said, it’s for health reasons and not some weird, uppity moral stance that a lot of vegans seem to have.  That being said, if you’re vegan for moral reasons, that’s totally fine.  Just leave me and my non-vegan ways alone and we’ll get along.

Anyway, I saw this recipe awhile ago when I was channel surfing.  I happened upon Bitchin’ Kitchen (which is an amusing show for all of about 10 min and then it’s annoying) and they were playing the vegan/vegetarian episode.  This pie thing was one of the things that Nadia made.  I thought it looked interesting and worth a try.  And since I was going to a little gathering with said vegan friend, I thought this would be the perfect time to try out the recipe.

The recipe is listed on the Cooking Channel website but there are a lot of  discrepancies from the recipe given on the show and what’s on the website.  The recipe I’m listing below is from the show.

Materials:

  • 0.25 cup plus 0.5 tsp cocoa butter , melted
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 0.5 cup almonds, pulverized
  • 0.25 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 0.125 tsp  sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 bananas, sliced in to 0.25″ slices
  • 1 cup raw sugar

Procedure:

  1. To make the curst: Preheat the oven to 300 deg F.
  2. Grease a 7″ tart mold with 0.5 tsp of cocoa butter.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together coconut, almonds, remaining cocoa butter, vanilla extract, and salt until crumbly.
  4. Mold the crust mixture into the pan, pushing up along the sides.
  5. Bake until the coconut is lightly browned, about 20-25 min.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.
  7. To make the filling: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
  8. Cool for 10 min.
  9. Add tofu, soy milk, maple syrup to the chocolate and beat until smooth, about 10 min.
  10. Add the filling to the cooled pie crust.
  11. Chill for 2 hr.
  12. To make topping: Coat the banana slices with raw sugar.
  13. Broil the bananas on the top rack until the sugar is caramelized, about 5 min.
  14. Place the bananas on the pie, working from the center.
  15. Chill for another 30 min.

Notes:

  • I had a really hard time finding cocoa butter.  You don’t necessarily need “food grade” cocoa butter, but you do need 100% pure cocoa butter.  Sometimes you can find it in the skin care aisle in drug stores and the like.  In fact, I did call a few places and they said they had pure cocoa butter, but they didn’t.  Definitely do not use cocoa butter lotion in your pie.
  • Anyway, I substituted coconut oil for the cocoa butter and it was fine.  You could probably use shortening, which wouldn’t taste as good; butter, which would taste great but make your recipe no longer suitable for vegans; or some vegetable oil that has a relatively high smoke point, around 200 deg C, which is approximately the smoke point of all the other substitutes I listed.
  • I used a disposable 8″ pie pan.  On the show, Nadia uses something she calls a “pie mold” but it looked like a tart pan.  It’s really hard to find a 7″ tart pan.  But with the recipe as listed, you have enough to make a decent crust in an 8″ pie pan.  And you don’t have to wash a pan afterwards.
  • I don’t think I used dark enough chocolate (I used dark chocolate morsels).  Technically, it was dark chocolate with 53% cocoa solids, but I think I probably could have used something even darker and less sweet.
  • A block of tofu is about 2 cups.  It’s kind of annoying to have half a block of tofu afterwards.  I guess you can just make two pies.
  • If you are too lazy to pulverize your own almonds, just use almond meal.  Then you can make macarons after.
  • Be careful with the broiler and the bananas.  I broiled on high and I have a tendency to burn things when I do that.  I checked every few minutes to make sure I wasn’t burning anything.  Also, it may be better to broil your bananas in two batches if your broiler tends to broil unevenly.  Or finish up with a torch, I guess.
  • Or better yet, just use a torch and skip the broiler all together.  It would give you more even results and less soggy bananas because you could concentrate a lot of heat on the sugar to caramelize it before the banana slices get to hot.
  • If you do use a torch, do yourself a favor and don’t get one of those ridiculous “crème brûlée torches.”  They’re terrible and not worth the money.  Just go to a hardware store and get a propane torch for the same price.  It’s a lot more rugged, it won’t melt after your first use, and you get more fuel.  You can even get a self-igniting one if you prefer one of those.
  • Also, I only needed about 0.25 cup of sugar for the bananas.
  • Also also, it was a delicious pie.  If you are careful to beat away all the specks of tofu (it takes awhile), you would never know that there was tofu in it.  The crust has a wonderful nuttiness to it, especially if you bake it closer to the 25 min of the range.
  • If you really wanted to make the pie not vegan however, you could use cream cheese in place of the tofu and butter in place of the coconut oil.  But I think the pie recipe is plenty good as it is and slightly healthier for you too.
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