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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease an 8-inch pie pan. Mix together dry ingredients (everything before the butter) while your butter melts.
- 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.
- 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!
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it feels like a well-baked cookie (firm, but not too crispy).
- Let crust cool completely before filling.
- 1 block of silken tofu
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 3 ounces dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.