06 April 2011

No Meat Zone Recipes: Banana coconut cream pie

(Vegetarian recipe-- Substitute with agave nectar to make dessert vegan.)

I have been eating tofu since I could remember; I mean, when I first started eating it, it certainly wasn't used in the healthiest of ways-- deep fried with a spicy sauce. It may not of been healthy but it sure was delicious. This was the only way I knew how to eat it... and that was by ordering it at our incredibly expensive Chinese restaurant. Over the years I stopped eating there, because everything was simply unhealthy and, well, expensive. As the years went on, I started eating tofu in different ways.

Last year I had been perusing blogs and came across a lemon poppy seed cake, what was different in this cake was that the base was made from silken tofu. I had never heard of putting tofu into cake before this time, even though I had already made tofu cookies and quickly devoured those bad boys. However, I kept putting the recipe to the side, and eventually I deleted it because I wasn't feeling a lemon poppy seed cake. The other day, I got this epiphany and I wanted to make a pie: a pie using tofu. Even after seeing many vegan dessert/smoothie recipes using silken tofu, I never got around to doing so myself.

I came up with a rough sketch of what I wanted to put into my pie. I used a basis for a normal graham cracker crust and veganized it. Here I'm using the term vegan because there is no eggs, butter or milk. I do consider honey to be an animal product, however I know there are people who are on the fence of whether or not honey is vegan. For the sake of this recipe due to it not having eggs, butter, or milk I'm going to call it vegan. I added honey since the agave I have contains nuts and the reason for me making this pie was for a nice lunch with Jenna and she's severely allergic to nuts. With that being said, here is what I did for the graham cracker crust.

I preheated oven to 350 degrees F.

In my food processor went 24 graham crackers, 1/3 cup coconut sap, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup coconut flakes and 1 tsp chia seeds.

Mixed until everything was well dispersed. Dumped into a pie dish, and baked for 10 minutes. Voila, set it aside.

This is where the fun came in! The filling, oh nomnomnom. Again take your food processor out. (Have I told you before how much I love recipes that you get to use your food processor the whole time?!)

Here I threw in one 12.2 oz package of lite firm silken tofu, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 tsp coconut extract, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and one medium/large very ripe banana.

Gave it a whirl. Mixed until everything was thoroughly incorporated. Added it to the graham cracker crust.

Baked it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Took that gorgeous, sexy dish out of the oven and became totally encased by it's wonderful aromas. I spoke the other day about the feeling you get when you come up with a recipe on your own and the accomplishment you get, this was it. This was the icing on the cake, the cherry on the icing, it was perfect.

I then mixed 1/2 tbsp chocolate rice milk, 2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp honey. Mixed until there were no lumps. Put it into a Ziploc bag and snipped off the corner.

I decorated the pie with sliced bananas (x2) and coconut flakes, some graham cracker crumbs, then drizzled it with my chocolate sauce.

I let it chill overnight. When I awoke this morning... yes I may have had some for breakfast I cut myself off a piece. Um... I was left speechless. It was, I've mentioned before I'm not a pie person, I'm a cake person alllllll the way. (Jordan never did like that part about me 'cause he is a pie man all the way!) This however would win me over. I mean, the thing I don't like about traditional pies is the crust, I just find them too doughy. This was perfect. It was light, it was incredibly flavourful, it was more or less healthy, and it was beautiful. Honestly this is the perfect dessert, and if you want to fool for your friends and family into eating something healthy, and vegan (depending on your definition) then you will achieve it with this recipe. I loved it, and will surely be using silken tofu in other desserts to try and make them healthy. I will be making this in the summer that's for sure!

Hope you'll try this out. :)

Samantha Lavorato
Samantha recently made the decision to go full out vegetarian after years of dabbling with the lifestyle. She enjoys running, yoga, swimming, and weight training. Samantha can usually be found in the kitchen whipping something up with a variety of ingredients. Follow Samantha at her blog, Flavorator.

Photo credit: Samantha