Tropical Chocolate Cream Pie (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

When I first changed to a plant-based diet in 2007, I was at a loss for how to how to prepare meals, and especially desserts, that my family and friends would enjoy. A tofu-based chocolate pie quickly became my standard dish to bring for dinners and events–people were always amazed that it was vegan. However, the recipe used some highly processed ingredients and I stopped making it for several years. This week I was completing an assignment for the Plant-Based Professional Certification Program at Rouxbe.com, and I was introduced to a simpler and less processed chocolate cream pie. I didn’t have many of the ingredients called for, so I started substituting local ingredients. Voila! Tropical Chocolate Cream Pie was born!

You can adapt this recipe in any number of ways. Don’t have macadamia nuts? Use walnut, pecans, or soaked cashews, or a combination. Don’t like coconut? Use refined coconut oil in the crust, which doesn’t have any coconut flavor.

Most tofu-based desserts call for silken tofu. We don’t have the silken variety, but we have an excellent firm tofu that is made locally. If you can get organic silken tofu, by all means, use it in this pie!

Many varieties of dark chocolate chips are dairy-free: read the labels. If you want to be sure that you’re getting chocolate chips made with vegan sugar, check that the package specifies the chips are vegan.

To keep with the tropical flavors, I finished the pie with pureed mango and toasted coconut, but use your imagination! We had leftover filling and dipped fresh strawberries into it…. yum!!

A food processor or high speed blender makes this pie a breeze to prepare. The crust can be made up to a couple days in advance: just cover with some plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the filling. The whole pie needs to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted dates (if your dates are a dry variety, soak them in hot water to soften)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (unrefined is best unless you don’t want any coconut flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 2 packages (260 grams each) organic firm silken tofu.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Note: I can’t get silken tofu easily, so I used 1 lb of firm tofu and added about 1/2 cup coconut milk. The amount of milk depends on the texture of the tofu you’re using.

Method

Crust

  1. Combine the nuts and dates in a food processor and grind until the nuts are the texture of a course meal. Don’t over process or you’ll end up with nut butter!
  2. Add the coconut oil and salt. Pulse to combine.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Alternatively, use a springform pan and just press the nut mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan.

Filling

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a shallow baking dish in at 350 degree F oven. If using the oven method, watch them carefully so they don’t burn!
  2. Blend the tofu, melted chocolate chips, and salt in a blender or food processor until ultra smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick for the blender, add a bit of coconut milk until you get a thick but pourable consistency.
  3. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top.
  4. Place into the refrigerator until set: about 30 minutes.

Slice the pie and garnish as desired. I made a mango puree from one mango, 1 tsp lime juice, and enough water to get a spoonable consistency.

 

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