This is a rich yet airy chocolate pie smothered in peanut butter caramel, studded with maple candies pecans and finished off with a chocolate drizzle for good measure. I use a graham cracker crust but a chocolate cookie crust would be nice, too. The pie itself is gluten free so if you have a gluten free crust you celiacs are good to go. I was inspired to make it when I asked myself what Paula Deen would bake if she were vegan. If you don't want to go through the trouble of making the toppings, the pie by itself is pretty yummy, too! Top it with soy whip cream if you got it. I'll be serving this and other good stuff at a vegan dinner event for New York Magazine in May. Check back for details!
If you're wondering why it's called Smlove Pie, it's a long and stupid story. The recipe is below. Enjoy!
12 graham crackers (or 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 cup canola oil
For the chocolate pie filling:
1 lb silken tofu (NOT the vacuum packed kind), drained
1/4 cup hazelnut liquer (other liquers would work too, like coffee liquer or chocolate liquer, or just use rice milk or soy milk)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons arrowroot
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted (you don't need directions for melting chocolate, do you?)
For the caramel peanut butter:
(This is basically the same as the recipe in caramel apple bars, but the quantities are tweaked a bit)
1/3 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky, at room temperature
3 tablespoons pute maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
For the maple candied pecans:
1 cup pecans
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the chocolate drizzle:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/4 cup chocolate chips)
1/4 cup soy or rice milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare the crust by processing the grahams into fine crumbs. Place them in a bowl and drizzle the oil into them. Use your fingertips or a fork to mix the oil in until all crumbs are moistened.
Spray a 10 inch pie plate with cooking spray. Pour the crumbs into the pie plate and firmly press them to the bottom and sides of plate. Set aside.
Prepare the filling:
First melt your chocolate. Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor. Add the liquer, vanilla and arrow root and blend until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything. Add the chocolate and blend again until completely combined.
Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. The center may still be jiggly, but that's fine. Let cool on a counter top for 10 minutes then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, the top of the pie should be firm to the touch.
Meanwhile, prepare your candied pecans.
Have ready a large plate, preferably covered in parchment paper. Preheat a heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir them very frequently for 3 minutes, until the start to brown. Stir constantly for 2 more minutes, until they are a few shades darker and relatively uniformly toasted. (If a few don't look toasted don't worry about it. That's better than having them burn.) Add the oil ans salt and stir for another minute. Add the maple syrup and stir constantly for about a minute. The maple syrup should get bubbly and dry.
Use a spatula to transfer the pecans to the plate and spread them out as much as you can, it's best if they aren't touching. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
Once the pie has been chilling for at least 3 hours, prepare the peanut butter caramel and chocolate drizzle. Have your pie out and ready to be assembled.
To prepare the caramel:
Stir all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Gently heat everything over low heat, stirring constantly with a fork, just until smooth and heated through. It should fall from your fork in ribbons. If it seems stiff, turn the heat off immediately and add a little extra brown rice syrup, until it's fluid again. This happens because different peanut butters have different amounts of moisture.
Pour the peanut butter over the center of the pie, leaving an inch or two at the edges because it spreads. Get your pecans and place them on top of the caramel, pressing them in firmly. You may have to break the pecans apart from each other if they were touching.
Prepare chocolate drizzle:
In a small sauce pan, heat the soy milk to boil. Once boiling, add the chocolate and lower heat. Use a fork to stir it until compeletely combined. Turn the heat off and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You can either drizzle the chocolate over the pie with a spoon, but I like to put it in a pastry bag fitted with a wide writing tip and drizzle it that way, in stripes.
Chill for at least 10 minutes before serving.