Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie with a Coconut Crust

Tonight we're heading over the annual Wine and Pie Party at our friend Tanya's house. While all pies are welcome, the rock-star challenge this year was to make a pie that everyone could eat, including attendees who are gluten-free (hence the nut crust), sugar-sensitive (hence the agave nectar) or vegan (hence the coconut milk and coconut butter) and at least one person who can't eat corn (hence the arrowroot powder in lieu of cornstarch). Our entry is this decadent creation, and we think it's a contender. With the chocolate and coconut flavors, it's like a Mounds bar, but without the nasty milk chocolate and too-sweet aftertaste.

To minimize insanity, you should:
(1) Have everything measured out before you start. You're dealing with coconut, nuts and chocolate, all of which burn easily, and you don't want to turn around to chop something and turn back around to find something smoking.
(2) Either have an electric mixer or a cooking partner, since there's a ton of stirring involved.

For the crust:
3/4 cup almonds (or walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut butter (you can totally use butter or margarine if you don't feel like shelling out $10 for a jar of fat. We understand.)
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut butter

For the filling:
2 14-ounce cans of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups chopped unsweetened baking chocolate (chop well so it will melt easily!)

First, start the crust. Grind almonds in the food processor until they're finely chopped, then add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well-mixed. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a pre-greased 10-inch pie pan. Pop the pan into your broiler and cook for 5 minutes or less, only until browned. Keep an eye on it! You're just toasting, not cooking, and if the crust burns, you'll probably cry. Stick it in the freezer to cool while you make the topping and filling.

For the topping, heat the coconut butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add coconut and stir frequently until golden brown, 2-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Filling time! Make sure you have everything measured out and ready, because this will come together quickly. In a medium-sized saucepan*, bring the coconut milk, agave and salt to a light simmer. Create a slurry in a small cup by mixing together the arrowroot with a few tablespoons of water. Add the arrowroot slurry a little bit at a time (you may not need all of it), stirring vigorously with a whisk or immersion blender, until the coconut milk thickens to a loose pudding texture. Remove from heat and cool for a minute. Add the vanilla extract and chocolate and continue stirring (see what we mean about the incessant stirring?) until chocolate is melted. Spoon the filling into the crust and top with the toasted coconut. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or until you're ready to serve. Meanwhile, lick all of the utensils.

*If you have a double boiler or are comfortable improvising one with two pots, that works well. The only change to the recipe is that you don't have to bring the coconut milk all the way to a simmer and you don't have to remove your pan from the heat before adding the chocolate.

UPDATE July 2009:

Phoebe's sister made a vanilla version of this recipe and said it was delicious! She just added more arrowroot to get it to firm up, swirled with raspberry jam, and topped with fresh raspberries. We've also made Meyer lemon variations that we'll share with you once we have the recipe just right.


Sarah said...

Oh my god that sounds AMAZING!! I have a gluten-free friend and have been looking for something decadent I can tempt her with-- this is perfect!

I Heart Kale said...

Thanks Sarah! It was very well-received, so I can confidently recommend that you make it for your friend. Also, we now have a gluten-free tag so you GF folks can easily select the recipes on here that will work for you.

Rachel said...

first of all, i love your blog,
second, i was thinking of making this dessert and wanted to substitute cocoa powder for the unsweetened chocolate (i can buy cocoa powder where i live but in two years have never found baking chocolate...) anyway, i was wondering approx. how much chocolate you used in ounces or grams, so i can make the conversion. also, do you use regular coconut milk or the kind they sell for desserts?
thanks! rachel

I Heart Kale said...

Hi Rachel, thanks for visiting! We used three 4-ounce bars of unsweetened baking chocolate. Let us know how it turns out with cocoa powder!

Rachel said...

cocoa powder update... the pie came out great!

i read on the internet that 1 oz unsweetened chocolate = 3T cocoa powder + 1T butter.

so: i heated the coconut milk and added the extra "butter" using coconut butter. once the mixture came to a boil i put the heat on very low and added the cocoa powder, wisking vehemently. i then added cornstarch (its what i had..) using an immersion blender, but i ended up only using half the amount called for in the recipe, at this point the batter was thick enough to hold its shape in the pot. then i folded in the agave.

anyway, not only did i enjoy it, so did the people who regularly eat sugar, dairy and wheat. so thanks for the recipe!!

I Heart Kale said...

That's so good to know, Rachel, because we actually had to go to two different stores when we made this since the first place we tried was out of unsweetened baking chocolate. Thanks for taking on that experiment!

Also, in answer to your original question, we use unsweetened coconut milk, not the coconut cream they sell for dessert.