Thursday, May 19, 2011

Creamy Coconut Pie. (I said "PIE!")

Creamy Coconut Pie
You have got to try this pie.

This is the first time I made this recipe. When I finally tried a slice (it was hard to wait long enough to let it chill!), it was like a coconut was making love to my mouth. The filling reminded me of sweetened condensed milk. If you've always been vegan or non-dairy and you don't know what sweetened condensed milk is... well, it's like this stuff. If you have friends who have never had tofu or are avowed tofu-haters, make this pie for them. (Unless they're allergic to soy, of course. That would just be mean.) Don't tell them what's in it until later - they'll probably ask you how you made this amazing thing, anyway. See more commentary following the recipe.

Creamy Coconut Pie [From How it all Vegan! Irresistible recipes for an animal-free diet, by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer.]

Classically creamy and light as a cloud, this is the kind of pie dreams are made of.

2 cups soft tofu
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups dry sweetener [white sugar, turbinado, sucanat, whatever...]
2 1/4 cups coconut, shredded
1 graham cracker pie crust (p. 151 [of How It All Vegan!])

Preheat oven to 350F. In a blender or food processor, blend together the tofu, oil, vanilla, salt, and sweetener. Pour into a large bowl and fold in 2 cups of the coconut. Pour into a graham cracker pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut on top and bake for another 10 minutes, until filling looks set and centre is firm. Serve chilled.

What I used:
• Tofu: Mori-Nu light firm silken tofu
• Oil: Peanut oil, as I thought it would be light tasting for desserts.
• Sweetener: Yes, I used white sugar. I hardly ever do this, but it was a dessert, I splurged. The pie was very sweet. Frankly, I enjoyed it, but some people might want to reduce the sugar to 1 cup.
• Coconut: Unsweetened, raw coconut flakes. Wow, am I glad I used unsweetened coconut.
• Graham cracker pie crust - I made my own ahead and made sure it was cool before using it. "Comment" me below if you want the recipe, it was awesome and easy.

A slice of coconutty love

What I did:
I used a food processor for the blending; and when I added the oil, I streamed it slowly into the processor so it really incorporated. You want this to really process/blend, so it's smooooooooth and the sugar dissolves and there aren't any tofu-y lumps. I suggest scraping the sides down at least once, because when you first start up the food processor or blender, some pieces of tofu will probably go flying and stick to the sides.

When I sampled the filling, I'm pretty sure my eyes rolled to the back of my head. I did add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice - not part of the original recipe - to mitigate the very slight tofu taste, and it worked great.

I had to cook the pie longer than the total of 25 minutes... it was closer to about 35 minutes until I felt the center was beginning to set. Next time - and there will definitely be a next time - I will cook it for about 20-25 minutes and then add the coconut topping and return it to the oven for the second bake.

It's like manna. Seriously.
Some day soon, I’m going to try making this in an 8x8 or 9x13 pan, with a thicker graham cracker crust. I will probably fold in some almonds or walnuts or pecans, and I might even try adding lemon or lime juice, but the pie – as a pie – is really quite tasty!

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