Finding desserts that work for my family can sometimes be a chore; we are gluten-free and now sugar-free too, and my oldest son is allergic to dairy, eggs and almost all nuts.
But we love desserts so much that I am willing to work at it (and eat the mistakes).
Now, I know that it is important to not focus too much on desserts for even the healthier ones can be a problem in excess. But I also don't wish to always say “no” to my kids. And I really enjoy making them something special for when we go somewhere that a dessert will be served, or for a birthday celebration at home, or just because I want to indulge them a bit.
When I found a recipe on the internet for a silk pie with an almond crust, I knew that I had to try it — and develop alternatives so that others with food allergies can have it too!
And was it a success! I even took it to a church potluck and lots of the people were eyeing our dessert, despite the fact that they had baklava to eat. One of my sons' friends asked if he could have a piece since he is on a restricted diet. Now, sometimes I am sheepish to share my dessert creations as often I am busy and am trying new recipes. My oldest will eat almost anything sweet that I make so I know he will be happy, but someone else's child…now that's another story. Well, he downed the piece of pie and thoroughly enjoyed it!
This is a reworking of a recipe from The Healthy Cooking Coach. Chef Rachel of that site says that she almost never creates a recipe “out of the ethers.” Well, me neither. I have been altering recipes as long as I can remember. In fact, I consider this to be one of the best time and money-saving techniques for your kitchen. This way you can almost always make a recipe “work” without having to purchase an additional ingredient or make a second trip to the store. And with the way gas prices are going these days, let's cut out every trip to the store that we can, right?
Chocolate Silk Pie with Nut or Seed Butter Crust (dairy, grain and sugar free)
Makes 1 9″ pie
1/4 cup almond butter, or other seed or nut butter (see make your own nut butters)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 egg (or equivalent. I used my homemade egg replacer. For low carb option, use a flax, gelatin, or chia egg.)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sweetener (like xylitol)* or 2 Tbsp liquid sweetener
1 cup almond flour, packed (finely ground almonds, soaked and dried if possible. Other seeds or nut flour may be substituted)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pure stevia extract (or substitute 1/4 cup granulated sweetener, powdered, or the same amount of liquid sweetener)
1 3/4 cup, divided, unsweetened coconut milk (see Easiest Coconut Milk)
1/2 c granulated sweetener, powdered*or 1/4 c liquid sweetener
1/8 tsp salt (I recommend Real Salt)
3 tablespoons cocoa or carob powder, sifted (I skip the sifting when I am in a hurry :-))
3/4 cup cocoa or carob powder, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil, or other healthy solid fat alternative like organic palm shortening, or butter
3 egg yolks, or egg alternative. For low carb option use flax, chia, or gelatin egg.
1/8 tsp stevia extract (or substitute 1/4 cup granulated sweetener, powdered, or the same amount of liquid sweetener)
For The Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, but only to 275 degrees if using honey in the crust. Combine the seed or nut butter and fat in a saucepan over very low heat and melt. Remove from heat and add the egg, vanilla and sweetener. Add the almond flour, baking powder, salt and stevia to form a thick dough.
2. Moisten hands and press the dough into and up the sides of a prepared 9 inch pie plate, a springform pan. Alternatively, an 8 inch baking dish can be used as well. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned around the edges. Turn off oven and leave door closed.
1. Heat 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, sweetener and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Combine remaining coconut milk and the 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, whisk, and add to the pan.
2. Pour 1/2 of the warm coconut milk mixture over the egg yolks (or substitute) and whisk (constantly if using real eggs).
3. Add the egg mixture to the warm coconut milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly. Finally, add the remaining cocoa and whisk again.
4. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut oil and stevia. Whisk until smooth and the fat has melted.
5. Briefly puree the mixture in a blender or process in food processor for a more silky texture, if desired.
6. Spoon into pie shell. Cool uncovered in the refrigerator or freezer until the top is firm.
To powder sweetener: Use a blender or spice grinder, grinding or pulsing until desired texture is achieved. You will need to leave the top on either machine for a few minutes after grinding in order to let the sweetener's “dust” settle. You will want to do this part of the recipe first so you don't have to wait in the middle of prep time :-).
Carob has a natural sweetness to it. You may find that you need to double the stevia and possibly increase one of the other sweeteners a bit if you choose to use cocoa. For me, I find it better to err on the side of too little sweetener so that I can adjust mine and my family's taste buds in that direction. We made the pies with carob with above directions and they were just right.
The pies take a little time to put together, but in my opinion, they are worth every minute.
The first time I made this recipe, it looked so good that I made 2 pies, and we ate them all up pretty quickly.
We even took some to a potluck (to be a “safe” dessert for us as my son has life threatening food allergies) and another young boy asked for a slice and loved it.
Typically I make more than that to save money and time because I we want to save both of them!
For the sweeteners, please use the healthiest option for your personal needs. For a low carb diet (or if you are on the THM plan), use xylitol or erythritol. If you are not low carb, I would personally use sucanat as it is less refined than most or coconut sugar which isn't that refined and also fairly low carb.
Like this recipe? You may also wish to try my:
Do you have a favorite real food dessert recipe to share? Or one that needs a makeover? I'd be glad to redo it for you.