Last month, my friend Julie had a Pie Party. It was a gorgeous, Indian summer day and it was so much fun! I tried 11(!) kinds of pie, including a couple tarts, galettes and Pie Fries. I also met lots of new friends (Hi, Jenna, Catherine, Carol and Jaya!) and caught up with old ones (Hi, Lauren and Gwendolyn!)
I think having a pie party comes with the unspoken expectation that rolling out some pastry will be involved, but as I was searching for pie recipes on my Google Reader, I kept coming back to this Frozen Samoa Pie from The Professional Palate.
She did a better job of drizzling melted chocolate, but you get the point.
Samoas (now called Caramel deLites) are a type of Girl Scout cookie sold in the States that are coated in creamy caramel, topped with toasted coconut and drizzled with chocolate. Apparently they're very popular. But because we don't have Samoas here in Canada (Why not?!), I decided to rename this to Frozen Choconut Pie for our audience.
Hanging out with Carol's Virgin Foxy Ladies, inspired by Gwendolyn
But how is it possible that this creamy pie could be vegan? The secret ingredient (which no one even suspected, despite the fact that my Magic Bullet was not the appropriate tool for this creation) was...
The original recipe was already very close to being vegan, with its coconut-and-coconut oil-based crust that I just took it a step further and swapped out the honey for agave nectar (how trendy of me!) I was actually more worried about making sure it was gluten-free, especially knowing that Lauren would be there - while I would usually buy coconut and chocolate chips from the bulk bins, I remembered to buy the packaged stuff and read all the ingredients. I also gave everything a good scrub and used a disposable pie tin.
The original recipe calls for coconut flour, which the store was unfortunately out of, so I bought a bag of quinoa flour instead and it worked great. Combined with the toasted coconut and coconut oil, the crust took on a distinctive nutty flavour.
I must admit I wasn't completely smitten with the pie at the party. Something about it seemed a little off, like it wasn't sweet enough or that there was a lingering avocado aftertaste. But I had some leftovers the next day and I finally understood where the compliments were coming from - the chocolate was smooth and creamy, but not too heavy, pairing well with the nutty flavour and cookie-like texture of the crust.
A note about coconut: I know a lot of people will balk at the fat content of this pie, especially because coconut is high in saturated fat. However, not all saturated fat is the same and the saturated fat that coconut oil is predominantly made of, called lauric acid, has been shown to raise cholesterol, but mainly HDL ("healthy") cholesterol (all fats are a mix of different types of fatty acids). Lauric acid is also considered a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) because it is only made up of 12 carbons, while most of the other saturated fats we find in our diet are made up of 16 or 18 carbons. MCTs do not require bile salts for digestion and do not require modification in the way that long-chain fatty acids do, so the hypothesis is their effects on our body and cardiovascular health may be different. While I don't buy some of the claims that coconut is some sort of miracle fruit that can burn fat and shed pounds, I do think that a pound of coconut oil is not the same as a pound of butter or lard! But of course, pie is pie and so this is still very much a "sometimes/special occasion" food!
Frozen Choconut Pie
Adapted from The Professional Palate
Makes 1 pie (8" or 9")
- 2 cups (500 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup (65 mL) coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup (125 mL) coconut flour, or quinoa flour
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) agave nectar, divided
- 2 avocados
- ¼ cup (65 mL) dark cocoa
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Kahlua or strong brewed coffee (I just used instant coffee)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut milk
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Optional: Melted chocolate chips (I used President's Choice The Decadent)
Nutrition Info (per ⅛ pie): 387 calories, 30 g fat (22 g saturated, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrate (11 g fibre, 16 g sugar), 4 g protein, 64 mg sodium. An excellent source of manganese. A good source of folate (vitamin B4), magnesium, potassium and copper.
- Toast coconut in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until golden; reserve ½ cup and set aside.
- Combine 1½ cups toasted coconut, melted coconut oil, flour and 1 tablespoon agave nectar in a large bowl; press into and up sides of pie plate. Set aside.
- Add avocado, remaining agave nectar, cocoa, Kahlua or coffee, coconut milk and salt to bowl of a food processor (not a Magic Bullet or blender!) Process until completely smooth. Spoon into pie shell and sprinkle with reserved toasted coconut. Freeze at least 4 hours or until firm. Just before serving, drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.