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Posted on Mar 15, 2012 in Food | 20 comments

Pi vs. Pie

As some of you may have noticed, yesterday was March 14th, also known as National Pi Day (3.14 — get it?). Though I made the egregious error of referring to it as National Pie Day (which, as it turns out, actually happened back in January) on Facebook, it did give me some food for thought (zing!). Initially, I had all sorts of ambitious plans to create a multi-course meal for dinner that included both savory and sweet pies, but that sort of fell apart after I realized that there’s virtually no way to make a low-calorie pot pie, and I hate quiche. (Mini-quiches, on the other hand, I love. Seriously, you could miniaturize anything and I’m pretty sure I would love it.)

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So instead, I decided to solely focus on the sweeter side of things. To go along with my dinner of roasted brussels sprouts and nothing else (oh come on, as if this is the first time that’s happened!), I whipped up two delicious and healthy…ish desserts! Just call me The Piemaker (any other Pushing Daisies fans out there?)… who didn’t have to actually bake either of these pies. Score!

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First up, a slightly modified version of my No-Bake Chocolate Creme Pie. This time I omitted the extra sugar completely, got a reduced-fat graham cracker crust, and used a combination of vanilla and almond extracts.

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It was the slightest bit less sweet than last time (in a good way!), and still tasted nothing like its protein-packed secret ingredient!

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For my second pie, I was inspired by Gina’s Skinny Banana Cream Pie to make something light, airy, and sweetly magical. Well, maybe it’s not so much “pie” as it is chopped fruit smothered in whipped cream, but it’s shaped like a pie so we’re calling it a pie.

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As I imagined it, this pie called for only four ingredients: strawberries, bananas, coconut milk, and sugar. Oh, and the pie crust, which I went store-bought on.. duh. I chopped up some gorgeous strawberries that I found at the supermarket along with a couple of ‘nanas and attempted to whip up some coconut whipped cream to use instead of the Cool Whip that Gina’s recipe called for. (Part of me trying to clean up the remaining part of my diet that’s still processed-food dependent.)

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I say that I ATTEMPTED the coconut whipped cream, because evidently I did it oh-so-wrong. I was impatient (shock!), and didn’t let the coconut cream fully separate from the coconut water. So despite like 20 minutes of solid work from my KitchenAid, it never really, y’know, got whipped. And thus the final product was JUST a little on the runny side…

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Okay, so maybe it was less pie than… can we call it a cobbler? Regardless, it’s still freaking delicious. And a full “slice” (we shall apply that term lightly) is less than 200 calories! Coconut milk is quite high in fat, I will admit, but blahblahblah healthy fats blahblah. I may or may not be eating it for breakfast right now. Oh, and I will say that it did set and solidify a little more in the fridge overnight (I gotta work on that patience thing!). The water separated out a little bit and the cream holds its shape better, so the piece I brought to work with me almost looked like an actual slice of pie… almost. I will certainly be working on perfecting this one in the future!

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I fully intend on having these pies bookend my days in the form of breakfast and dessert for the rest of the week. I mean, if people can have wedding pie instead of wedding cake, I can totally claim pie as a breakfast food, right?

What’s your favorite kind of pie? I used to be a pecan girl all the way, but I’ve really come around to fruit pies. One day I will attempt an apple pie from scratch!

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Posted on Dec 7, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 21 comments

Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Creme Pie

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They say that some things are too good to be true.

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And generally, I’d say that is usually the case.

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But not this time.

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No, the only thing that will have you roaring in disbelief here is how incredibly easy this recipe is.

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This smooth, rich-tasting a chocolate pie requires absolutely no oven time and is sure to impress! They’ll never even know that you were hiding something all along…

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‘Cause that’s right, not only is this an absolutely delicious dessert, but it’s got a secret, healthifying ingredient that bumps up the nutrition without sacrificing taste. Remember that coupon-fueled grocery shopping trip I did a couple of weeks ago? Well, I came home with three packages of Nasoya tofu courtesy of the company, and I finally got the chance to use one of them up! Some of you may be no stranger to using silken tofu in desserts, but this was a first for me. As you can see, I’m incredibly pleased with the result!

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I promise you cannot taste the tofu at all (and my roommate verified!) and instead, you’ll be amazed at the incredible texture it provides. Outside of my mom’s amazing Chinese cooking, I don’t see silken tofu used in dishes very often. It doesn’t taste like much of anything on its own, but soaks up flavors like a sponge and has a consistency that I would liken to flan.

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And the best part? By using lite silken tofu you’re keeping calories fairly reasonable for a piece of chocolate pie. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s still chocolate, and it’s still pie, and since I don’t have magical powers, it still has some weight to it. But for a holiday dinner or special occasion? Heck yes!

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Pull this puppy out at your next dinner party and surprise your guests with the secret ingredient after they’ve downed their first slice. In fact, I would bet money that they’ll be clamoring for seconds anyway!

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Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Creme Pie
Print this recipe!

Adapted from Alton Brown’s Moo-less Chocolate Pie
Serves 8

Easy? Check. Delicious? Check. Healthier than your average bear pie? Check! This creamy dreamy chocolate pie will have your dinner guests in disbelief when you admit to the secret ingredient. Looking to save even more calories? Skip the crust and serve it custard-style in individual ramekins!

Ingredients:

1 12 oz. bag of vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
1 package lite silken tofu
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
1 graham cracker pie crust, store-bought or home-made

Instructions:

1. Combine chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and water in a heat-safe bowl. Melt together using a double-boiler (resting the bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove) or in small batches in the microwave (10 seconds at a time), stirring frequently.

2. When chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and add tofu and sugar, if using. Blend until smooth in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Pour into pie crust and refrigerate.

3. Refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours (the longer it sits, the firmer it will get), and serve solo or with homemade cinnamon whipped cream!

Nutritional info per slice: 382 calories, 20 g fat, 47 g carbs (3 g fiber), 8 g protein.

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Done.

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And done.

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