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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Almost Healthy Chocolate Amaretto Silk Pie

It's been awhile since I've posted here - my day job has kept me busy and left me with little time or creative energy for baking. That makes this recipe an especially timely addition to the blog: it's fast, easy, and technically could be no-bake, if you're using a pre-made pie crust. This could also easily be a vegan recipe, with a modified crust. Plus, it's sort of, almost, healthy! At least, it's lower in fat and sugar than your standard chocolate silk pie - but I honestly didn't feel like I sacrificed taste or texture to get there. 

The recipe that follows is inspired by Alton Brown, but I've tweaked some things here and there - mostly, because I didn't want to go to the grocery store! 

Before we get into that, let's take a look at the finished  product:

Almost Healthy: Chocolate Amaretto Silk Pie

Before I tell you what's in here, I must first assure you that this pie is truly decadent and delicious. You're going to be shocked when you learn what it's made of. The texture of the filling, before it sets, is similar to chocolate mousse: it's FLUFFY. Once it sets, it's reminiscent of truffle filling. Seriously. It's rich, creamy, dense, with an intense chocolate flavor and subtle sweetness. Are you ready for the secret ingredient?



Yeah, I was skeptical at first, too. I put homemade whipped cream on everything in sight. How could TOFU yield anything remotely similar? I still don't know HOW it works, but it really works. Alton Brown knows his stuff. I even brought my friend a slice, without telling him about the secret ingredient. Now, this dude is my toughest critic. If he's not a fan of something I make, he'll let me know. So, as he enjoyed his pie, I was rewarded with enthusiastic "MMMMMMs" and "OMGs", and I just sat there, quietly grinning like the Cheshire Cat, until he was about halfway done, and then I broke the news about the tofu. He put his fork down, chewing thoughtfully, then said, "Wow, I would never have known. That's some good pie right there." 

So, there you have it. If you want to serve a decadent dessert, but you want to lighten it up a little bit, silken tofu is your new secret weapon!

Here's how it's done: 


Chocolate-Almond-Graham Cracker Crust:
**Note: make sure you allow plenty of time for the crust to cool before you even start on the filling, as that part goes quickly!

1 package (8-10) graham crackers
1/8 cup finely ground almonds
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur

Chocolate-Amaretto Filling:
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon honey*
1 package (about 12 oz) silken tofu, drained


Place graham crackers into a ziploc bag and roll on a hard surface with a rolling pin until finely ground into crumbs.
Pulse almonds in a food processor until ground into crumbs.
Place the crumbs, cocoa powder, and sugar into a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Add melted butter and liqueur, and mix with a fork until everything is combined and the crumbs are moistened.
Spread the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing into shape.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes to set.
Let the crust cool completely before you add the filling. I stuck mine in the freezer to speed things up.

Melt the chocolate chips in a heat proof (glass or metal) mixing bowl, placed over a saucepan with a couple inches of simmering water. Stir now and then with a spatula to keep things moving along. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, add the vanilla and the liqueur.

**Note: Ellen and I often extol the virtues of vanilla bean paste on this blog, and I'm going to do it again. I like to use vanilla bean paste because the flavor, to me, is fresher. It measures out the same, teaspoon for teaspoon, with vanilla extract, but I just like it better. Also, the thick, "pastey" texture is especially nice for recipes like this, where you don't want to add too much liquid.

Mix the silken tofu, either in a food processor, with a hand mixer, or with an immersion blender, on high speed, until smooth. I used my hand mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes, and it worked just fine. Add the melted chocolate mixture, and mix on med-high speed for another couple of minutes. It's going to resemble chocolate mousse, which kind of blew my mind. At this point, taste it and see if it's sweet enough. I was satisfied with the taste, but if you want it to be a bit sweeter, you can add some honey. Alton Brown calls for a tablespoon; I added maybe a teaspoon. Mix it up for another minute, then transfer the filling into your (cooled) crust. Smooth the top with your spatula/spoon to evenly distribute the filling in the crust, then place your pie in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it.

A few more notes: I found that the filling started to set as soon as the cold whipped tofu was combined with the warm, melted chocolate chips - so make sure your crust is already cooled and ready to go, because you won't have much time to work with the filling. Alton says you need to refrigerate this pie for about 2 hours, but I think you could get away with one hour. It will be quite firm when set - similar to truffle filling. If you cross-check my modified recipe with Alton's original, you'll also see that he uses Kahlua. I think Kahlua is delightful; so delightful, in fact, that I realized (after I'd already started making the pie) I was out of Kahlua. I did have Disaronno, so I made the substitution and ran with the almond theme, hence the almonds and liqueur in the crust.

It's healthy if it has protein, right?
Your dinner guests will never guess that you sneaked tofu into their dessert.

***posted by Jacqueline***

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  1. I have wanted to try the tofu-in-chocolate forever. Now I might just need to try!

  2. I was really skeptical, but if Alton Brown says something is good, it's usually pretty good! :)

  3. Almost healthy? Maybe. But certainly delicious looking!

  4. I've used silken tofu in my pumpkin pie before and it was absolutely yummy--but you have MY attention with chocolate! Chocolate Silk Pie is one of my favorites and you have just brought it to my attention that it could be made healthier. So creative and daring, XOXO

  5. It is delicious...I was lucky to get a piece from Jacqueline this morning. I seriously had to pace myself...YUMMY!

  6. Just made this over the weekend. Very delicious and the texture is devine. To me, I still taste the soy a bit but as a tofu desert it's excellent. The only problem I had making it was the melting chocolate chips seized up as soon as I added a small portion of the amaretto so I mixed them into the tofu seperatly and this worked well. Did I do something incorrectly? Were you able to mix the alcohol with the melted chocolate? Thanks you for sharing this recipe. :)

  7. @Social Tea - thank you for letting me know that you made this, and liked it :-) You know, I have had mixtures suddenly solidify on me before when adding booze, but this one didn't (for me). Ellen will be proud of me for finding this - I just found a really interesting Q&A on why this occurs and what is chemically happening to the structure of the chocolate mixture - and how to fix it. Click here to read the Q&A. Actually, this is a pretty awesome site, and I will be bookmarking Baking 911 for future reference! Thank you, Social Tea, for your helpful comment and the informative research it sparked :-) Now I know how to get more consistent results next time I'm working with chocolate.

  8. I am with you, my day job keeps me crazy busy....blogging can be challenging:-p Your pie looks gorgeous! I love baking with amareto:-) Hugs, Terra

  9. I am with you, my day job keeps me crazy busy....blogging can be challenging:-p Your pie looks gorgeous! I love baking with amareto:-) Hugs, Terra

  10. Amaretto is divine! And so versatile ;)

  11. Amaretto is divine! And so versatile ;)


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