Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tried & Tweaked Thursday-- Icebox Truffle Pie

 When a good chocolate recipe comes along, I hold onto it forever, and usually end up adding my own touches after a few years or decades. So it is with this pie, a gloriously chocolatey concoction that gets better with every slice. This is one of those pies that takes no real cooking, not much effort, and tastes better than a mousse cake-- just as rich and creamy as you could want. You make up the filling in less than five minutes, pour into the crust, and refrigerate till firm and cool. That's it!

 And there's no eggs or butter, as in mousse. No chemical-flavored whipped topping or pudding mix, as in so many icebox pies. It's just deep deliciousness, cool and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. I've served it to family and friends, always with a great reception.

 Yesterday, I made this on a whim, having a leftover graham crust on hand (although often I tweak this by using an Oreo crumb crust, or shortbread crust), and also having what I thought was an adequate amount of maple-flavored agave syrup from The Christmas Tree Shops, to fill the recipe requirements. That mistake led to my newest tweaks, and now there's no stopping me-- I'll be experimenting with this pie, on purpose, for ages. With the early summer temps we're seeing in WNY, it's a excellent dessert to have on hand. In fact, I ate a slice for breakfast.

Originally developed by a reader (Shannon Alison-Leszek) for the Vegetarian Times reader recipe contest, now adapted and renamed by Mari.

Icebox Truffle Pie

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
generous 1/4 cup cinnamon flavored chips
12-oz. container firm silken tofu
1/4 cup maple-flavored agave syrup, or use half agave, half maple syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup broken walnuts
1 9-inch premade graham cracker crust, or chocolate crumb crust
fresh fruit, or other garnishes, optional

1. Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate, and heat 30 seconds more. Repeat heating and stirring until chocolate is just melted. Add cinnamon chips, a little at a time, to melted chocolate, stirring to dissolve. Taste as you go-- you may want to add a few more. Set aside.

2. Combine tofu and agave/maple syrup in food processor, and blend till smooth. Add peanut butter, and process until smooth. Add chocolate mixture, and process once more until smooth. Add walnuts and pulse briefly, just to distribute nuts throughout the mixture.

3. Pour peanut butter-chocolate mixture into pie crust, smoothing the top; refrigerate at least 20 minutes-- I prefer two hours, minimum. Makes 1 9-inch pie, should serve 6 or more easily.

 Before serving, I like to garnish this one of several ways-- with a light dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder and/or a raspberry puree, or fresh raspberries, or the way we had it for breakfast-- with sliced bananas and whipped cream. You can, of course, make this in it's purest vegan form* and add fruit alone or vegan cream. You can even top it as Shannon did for the contest, with pretzels, chocolate-dipped or not-- the salt against all that chocolatey richness is wonderful, but we enjoy the way fruit flavors enhance and bring out the fruitiness of the chocolate. My other additions of cinnamon chips and walnuts give a candied quality to the filling, that is, I admit, an improvement on an already great idea. Thank you again, Shannon, wherever you are!

In the fridge, before the garnish.

 *Mari's Notes--

 If you use the right kind of crust and chocolate, this is a vegan delight, but cinnamon chips generally contain nonfat milks solids, so you'd have to use more syrup-- 1/2 C, and a dash of ground cinnamon instead, if you'd like to keep the flavors as they are here.
 The original topping of broken chocolate-covered pretzels, if used, are best added just before serving, instead of before chilling as had been called for, unless you like soggy pretzels.
 Finally, if you want to go for the total sexy dark truffle experience here, use bittersweet chips, ditch the cinnamon, add a tsp of instant espresso or Starbucks Via to the filling, and serve each slice sprinkled with dark unsweetened cocoa powder and a fluff of whipped cream, topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean for maximum chic.

 PS-- Nobody will know this has tofu in it, unless you tell them so after they have eaten it. And then, they won't believe you.

 Peace, Mari

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