Don’t you love sneaking veggies into “fun” foods and having no one be the wiser? Well, get ready for the ultimate stealth veggie adventure, because this rich and creamy chocolate silk pie is made almost entirely out of cauliflower.
I got the idea from the cauliflower “ricotta” in the sweet potato and spinach lasagne in the Forks Over Knives cookbook. The lasagne was tasty, but the ricotta was so convincing—and delicious!—that as a dessert addict, I just had to try translating it into a cauliflower cheesecake. After many rounds of experimentation, I ended up with not a cheesecake, but a chocolate silk pie. It tasted uncannily like its dairy counterpart—but with nary a drop of moo juice. (And a whole lot healthier, to boot.)
For the skeptics among you, rest assured that this pie doesn’t taste at all like cauliflower. I don’t know what sort of alchemy happens when you mix cauliflower with chocolate and vanilla, but the result is just plain delicious.
In fact, I served these pies at a client appreciation event my mom co-hosted with her real estate partner, and it was a blast! Everyone was excited to try the “secret ingredient” silk pie, and people had a ball trying to unravel the mystery. Yet not a single person was able to guess the secret ingredient offhand, and people were surprised and delighted when they heard it was cauliflower. When they went back for seconds and asked for the recipe, I have to admit, I felt all kinds of warm and fuzzy. 🙂
And not only is this pie fun to serve (and eat!), but it’s great for potlucks and holiday entertaining, because you can make it a day ahead. Moreover, since it’s gluten free, vegan, and low fat, nearly everyone can enjoy it! Of course, it’s not exactly health food—there’s some natural sugar and agave for sure. However, since it’s made with whole grain oats, sorghum flour, macadamia nuts, and cauliflower, it’s an indulgence you can feel good about. (Like my sweet potato chocolate frosting. I know, I have a minor chocolate addiction.)
I mean, check out these sweet nutrition stats. One slice scores you (daily values):
- 66% vitamin C
- 21% fiber
- 17% vitamin K
- 12% iron
Plus 5 grams of plant-powered protein. Not too shabby for dessert, right?
- ½ c quick oats (gluten-free if needed)
- ½ c sorghum flour (can use whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour if not gluten-free)
- ¼ c Dutch-process cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp natural sugar (such as organic table sugar or Sucanut)
- ¼ c applesauce
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a 9-inch pie dish (non-deep-dish) with cooking spray.
- Blend oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
- Add sorghum flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and natural sugar. Blend until thoroughly mixed. (You may need to turn off the blender and stir a couple of times to ensure even mixing.)
- Mix applesauce and vanilla and add to a large bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to applesauce mixture and stir until combined. You'll likely need to use your hands at the end to evenly mix/knead all ingredients into a stiff dough.
- Place dough in the center of the oiled pie plate. Lightly wet your hands. Starting from the center, use your palms and fingers to press the dough to the edge of the plate.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until top edge of crust is lightly crisp. (The rest of the crust will crisp as it cools). Cool before filling.
- 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp agar flakes (I use Eden brand)
- ⅓ c water
- 1 large head cauliflower (a little over 2 pounds)
- ½ c unsweetened almond milk
- 6 macadamia nuts*
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ c light agave nectar
- ½ tsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ c cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli)
- Mix agar flakes with ⅓ c cold water in a 1-cup Pyrex glass measuring cup. Set aside.
- Wash cauliflower, discard central core, and cut into florets. (Yields about 1½ lbs florets)
- Steam florets over boiling water in a basket steamer (in a large stockpot) for 10-12 min, or until largest florets are just tender.
- While florets are steaming, place all remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Once florets are tender, remove from heat. Carefully add half the florets to the blender and blend until smooth, venting as needed. Repeat with the rest of the florets.
- Microwave the agar-and-water mixture for 2 minutes, stirring every 30-45 seconds (or as needed to prevent boil-over and lumps.) Immediately add hot agar mixture to blender, scraping with a spatula to ensure all agar is included.
- Blend thoroughly, using a tamper as needed to ensure agar is fully incorporated.
- Pour pie filling into cooled pie crust. (You'll have some extra filling. If you have self control, you can let it set into a custard in the fridge. If you're like me, feel free to eat it immediately--chef's privilege!)
- Cover with a domed lid (an inverted large disposable pie pan or the cover of a cake stand works well). Refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of 4 hours.
- To serve, slice carefully with a sharp knife. Garnish with whipped topping and raspberries if desired.