Holiday Happenings: Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Pudding Pies

“Well, I prefer chocolate….”

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means pies. If your family is like ours, everyone has a different favorite. My husband prefers apple pies. My son and mom like pumpkin. My dad wishes folks would go back to making traditional minced meat pies. I enjoy experimenting and making pies like pear-cranberry or sweet potato. My oldest will eat any pie. For my younger daughter, however, who is a chocoholic, there’s nothing like a chocolate pie.

For folks who are in agreement with her, there are two different ways that I make a chocolate pie, one version uses my dark chocolate mousse recipe which is made with tofu. The other adapts a chocolate pudding recipe because some folks are allergic to soy.

For both I make a chocolate cookie crumb crust. Often I make my own chocolate cookies but when I’m pressed for time I like to use Enjoy Life’s chocolate or chocolate mint cookies because they are free of 12 of the major food allergies.  Most recipes call for 1 1/2 cup to 2 cups of crumbs mixed with 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup butter.  Since I tend to use a 10 inch pie pan, I process enough chocolate cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs but I have found that 2 tbsp of a fat is all you really need. So, choose a plant based oil or melted vegan butter or coconut oil and mix it well with the crumbs. Press the crumbs into your pan to cover the bottom and all the way up the side. Then you can choose to either bake the crust in a preheated 325 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crust or you can simply freeze it for half an hour which will also set it.

To make the first version of the chocolate filling, you make the dark chocolate mousse recipe and then sprinkle two teaspoons of unflavored gelatin or agar powder or Vegan Jel over 2 tbsp of cold water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to soften, then dissolve with 2 tbsp of hot water. Mix well into the mousse and then pour the mousse filling into your prepared pan and put it in the fridge for several hours to set.

To make the second version of the chocolate filling, you make the dark chocolate pudding recipe with whatever “milk” suits your allergy need, only before you thicken the pudding, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips and stir until they’re melted to make for a richer-tasting pudding and increase the cornstarch to 4 to 5 tbsp to make a thicker pudding. Then pour the pudding into the prepared cookie crust, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and put into the fridge for several hours to set.

You can leave the pies as they are, or to make them prettier, you can sprinkle chopped dark chocolate over the top. Then enjoy!

 

Creative Cooking: Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Mousse

“But I want it quick and easy!”

I’ve already confessed to being a lazy cook, someone who likes to make a good meal with the least amount of effort. Now, I confess that I’m also a very impatient cook. If I want to make something, I rarely like to wait the time it takes for something to get cold or to reach room temperature, and I never have patience if I try someone else’s recipe and it fails, making it a waste of my time.

Recently one of my daughter’s really wanted a chocolate mousse, but with my dairy allergy we couldn’t make it with heavy cream. Many online recipes call for using coconut milk which I have done in the past for making a whipped cream. The problem is that it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you purchase a can of coconut milk, put it the fridge, and it doesn’t solidify properly. Other times, the coconut milk tastes a little off, making your mousse not as palatable. And in both scenarios, you’ve had to wait for the coconut milk to chill, only to be disappointed.

So, we then looked at recipes which used tofu, but we found many of those recipes to be too sweet because people wanted to cover the tofu taste and did so with sugar. We also discovered that many of the tofu recipes either still called for the use of heavy cream or used almond milk, both of which I can’t have. In addition, a bunch of the recipes required a wait time for the tofu to get to room temperature or required a complicated process of straining the tofu mousse after making it.

Undaunted, though, I decided I’d make a mousse to my liking in taste, texture, and time spent. So I pulled out two cold 16 ounce containers of silken tofu and went to work. Since the process of straining the mousse seemed to be because people wanted a creamy texture which would be marred by chunks of tofu, I decided that I’d simply puree the tofu completely smooth first with my hand blender. This would eliminate any additional work needed later. And it worked really well.

Next, after looking at the too sweet recipes, many of which called for two cups of chocolate chips for one package of tofu plus additional sugar, I figured that for the two tofu packages, one 10 ounce package of Enjoy Life allergy friendly mini chocolate chips (about one and a half cups)  with no addition of any other sugar products would suffice. I microwaved the chips in a large four cup measuring bowl for one minute, stirred, and then microwaved them for another 20 seconds so that when I stirred the chips, they were melted and smooth.

Because I knew that adding the warm, melted chips to the cold tofu would result in the chocolate becoming solid again, I decided that I’d adopt the tempering process one uses with eggs to the chocolate. I added a couple of spoonfuls of the cold tofu to the warm chocolate and blended it well with the hand blender. I repeated the process three times, and then added the entire chocolate mixture into the rest of the smooth tofu, using my hand blender to completely blend the chocolate and tofu together.

When we tasted the mousse, we realized that while cutting the amount of chips made for a less sweet mousse, it also made for less of a chocolate taste, too, so I added two tablespoons of Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder with 1/2 tsp of gluten free vanilla and blended one more time with the hand blender until everything was smooth and creamy. We divided the mousse among eight dishes and sprinkled chopped dairy free chocolate pieces on top as a garnish.

The entire process from start to finish was less than ten minutes, and by the time we were done eating dinner, the mousse had cooled enough in the fridge to make for a delicious impromptu dessert!

Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

Two 16 oz containers of silken tofu

10 oz package Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

2 tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla

Cooking Instructions:

  1.  Puree the tofu completely smooth first with a hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender, use a food processor or blender. The key is to make it completely smooth and creamy.
  2. Microwave the chips in a large four cup measuring bowl for one minute, stir, and then microwave them for another 20 seconds so that when you stir the chips, they are melted and smooth.
  3. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the cold tofu to the warm chocolate and blended it well with the hand blender. Repeat the process three times, and then add the entire chocolate mixture into the rest of the smooth tofu, using the hand blender to completely blend the chocolate and tofu together.
  4. Add the Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder with the vanilla and blend one more time with the hand blender until everything is smooth and creamy.
  5. Divide the mousse evenly among eight dishes and sprinkled chopped dairy free chocolate pieces on top as a garnish.