il fait trop beau pour travailler

It’s too beautiful to work.

The weather has been so gorgeous this week. It’s made it nearly impossible to focus on all of the school work I should be catching up on, & it’s had me wanting gin & tonics, fruit salads and nothing that involves an oven. I’ve wanted to live in this music video.

Because several weddings are coming up;
because I never have any energy;
because I need to spend less money on baking ingredients; and
because we’re trying to eat more  whole, unprocessed foods, I’m going on what could loosely be called a diet.

What that means is I’m trying not to buy peanut butter M&Ms anymore. I’m resisting Easter candy, & I’m making us eat homemade (rather than frozen or ordered) pizza again. We’ve been slipping lately…

I was panicking. What French dessert could possibly fit this description? Yes, their ingredient lists are always simple, but they’re always something special I have to buy. Or there are 15 pain au chocolats sitting around the house. Bad idea. Then I remembered a pie I made for my family, when I was trying to convince them to like tofu. It comes from a blog I’ve followed for years, is rough inspired by a French silk pie & will provide some nutritional value.

Before I get to the recipe, there’s something we have to get straight: I’m cheating. Or rather, I’m stretching the truth. See, French silk pie isn’t exactly, well, French. It’s a recipe that originated in the American South.

Wait! Before you get all angry & go looking for a new, real, more authentic French dessert recipe, give me a chance to explain. I’ve scoured the Internet for the deal with this tricky monicker. I always thought it came from the fact that the silky filling was reminiscent of mousse, the French-est of French desserts. It’s partially that, but it’s also the fact that it’s classified as a “cream pie,” a family of pies that all use a variety of crème patissière.

So there we have it. An American tradition. A French technique. A hippie, tree-hugging twist on it for the day…

I’ve made some changes from her original recipe, but give the blog full credit (& many thanks). She uses Nutella, but I’m trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup, baking expenses & palm oil, so no Nutella for the Betzes. Here’s how the recipe changes came about: I looked in the cupboard, found what I had with roughly the same consistency & mixed it all together. Voilà.

Tree-hugger French silk pie

The Crust:

  • 1 cup white-whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • approximately 1/4 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8-inch pie pan. Mix together dry ingredients (everything before the butter) while your butter melts.
  3. When the butter is melted, stir it into the dry ingredients. It will be dry, so add water (up to 1/4 cup) until the dough is malleable & will form a crust in the pan.
  4. Dump the dough into your pan. Work the dough up the sides & across the bottom, spreading it evenly, but making sure it’s not too thin–you don’t want to lose it all when you scoop out a piece!
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it feels like a well-baked cookie (firm, but not too crispy).
  6. Let crust cool completely before filling.

The Filling:

  • 1 block of silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. After you remove the tofu from the package, pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut it into pieces; line the pieces on a paper towel. Let it sit for 20 minutes to dry a little–say, while you make your pie crush.
  2. When the tofu’s all set, break up your chocolate. Put it in a food processor*, & pulse until it’s pretty broken up. Add all the other ingredients. Pulse for a bit to get it going, then run the food processor on a medium speed until an even, homogenous texture is reached.
  3. Dump the filling into the crust, & smooth it out. Let the pie chill in the fridge for an hour.

*I don’t have a food processor. This has made life really interesting lately, like when I’ve made those squash soups. Or hummus. The blender gets all clogged. I start screaming. All I’m saying is, it’s annoying, but it’s not impossible. Work in small batches, pulsing rather than just letting it run. I got frustrated & was about to give up… then I decided to put the mixture on low heat on the stove, stirring & mashing as the chocolate melted. It worked well, & we dealt with a few tofu lumps. (They were small.) Still totally delicious.

Now: If you love me, mail me a food processor. I’ll send you my address if you need it.


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
This entry was posted in being French and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to il fait trop beau pour travailler

  1. thebakeandbrew says:

    Oh how I adore (never home) maker!

    The post I’m working on for tomorrow is very much along the same lines as yours…trying to be more conscious in eating real food other than desserts, and the fact that it is far too stunning outside to do anything indoors.

    I hope you get to keep enjoying this wonderful weather!

  2. meganbetz says:

    We’re really enjoying it, & are already starting to feel the positive effects. Hope you’re feeling the same! We just bought lawn chairs to enjoy our “view” from the “patio” we have. I’ll get a very indirect tan from our very indirect sunlight, but it’s enough to get my peas sprouting. Excited!

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