Yay! Here’s the post that I promised yesterday on Pi(e) Day! Even though I got home a little late yesterday after a day in the lab doing science-ythings such as concentrating proteins and SDS PAGE , I was devoted to coming up with and making a pie! Every year we celebrate Pi(e) Day no matter how busy it is! Inspired by Dr. Andrew Weil‘s True Food Kitchen, one of my favorite San Diego restaurants, I made a Mexican Chocolate Pie with an Almond Crust. At True Food Kitchen, the motto is “Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure.” Their mission is that “every dish served must not only be delicious but must also promote the diner’s well-being.”While the focus is fresh, nutritive dishes that highlight organic fruits & vegetables, grass-fed meat & wild-caught fish, there is something for everybody whether or not you are a health nut, are a vegan, or eat gluten-free. My in-laws like the restaurant too! You feel content after eating there. Satisfied, but not heavy. I even feel energized enough for a workout. Everything we’ve had is delicious, from the beverages, appetizers, entree to dessert. I’m a big fan of their desserts, especially Dr. Weil’s signature flourless chocolate cake…
…which I made into a pie! That’s a pretty-looking cocoa almond crust!
For the filling, component #1: melted Mexican chocolate base with almond butter, butter (or coconut oil), and chili pepper powder for some kick. If you can’t find Mexican chocolate, you can add a teaspoon or more of cinnamon. I bet you could also use a couple of these Spicy Maya Bars (one of my favorite chocolate bars) from San Diego-based Chuao Chocolatier, voted best chocolate in the US by Food & Wine.
This is another component of the chocolate filling, whipped egg yolks and a bit of natural cane sugar with some vanilla and spiced whisky (for some more kick, but it’s optional). In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I accidentally used double the amount of eggs, so don’t be alarmed if you make this and my filling looks slightly different.
Then also some whipped egg whites as the 3rd component of the chocolate filling.
Mix the first 2 components together and gently fold in with 3rd component, the egg whites.
Pour the silky, light chocolate filing into the prepared nut crust and bake! This time, I coarsely ground the nuts, but you can grind them more finely.
While baking the pie, prepare your toppings. With a bit of stevia, I hand-whipped some full-fat coconut milk (while watching A Young Doctor’s Notebook on Netflix–highly recommended series!). I may have added a splash or more of Spicebox in the coconut milk.
Right after the bake. Don’t be worried if it deflates a bit–that’s normal, but you do have to let it cool down for several minutes. Your mouth will thank you.
This is after the taste, when my husband came home from a hectic day of work. MMMmmmm. Thank you Pie day! It was an excuse to bake a pie! True to True Food Kitchen fashion, this dessert is satisfying, rich, but not cripplingly heavy to make you feel lethargic. If you like some spice, the cinnamon from the Mexican chocolate and some chili pepper was a welcome kick. A truly guilt-less pleasure with a kick. In fact, I had a sliver for a quick breakfast and that was enough to keep me going until lunchtime! 🙂
Even though I doubled the eggs, the pie was still luscious, just a bit more spongy than I thought it would be. I suggest going with the original amount of eggs, which I have written in the recipe below.
Mexican Chocolate Pie with Cocoa-Almond Crust
Makes one 9 inch Pie
- 1.75 cups raw almonds or other nut (can also use a mix of nuts!), finely ground
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar (or 1-2 teaspoons stevia)
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 4 tablespoons grass-fed unsalted butter (or coconut oil), melted and cooled
Filling – adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil
- ~6 ounces Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra brand (if you can’t find Mexican chocolate, you can use ~70% dark chocolate with 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
- 3 ounces grass-fed unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
- 3 ounces almond butter
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
- 1/8-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or other chili powders such as chipotle pepper powder, pasilla, ancho, or a mix–it’s optional if you aren’t into chili peppers)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons spiced whisky, such as Spicebox or Fireball brand (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the crust: mix together the almonds, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and cocoa in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and combine. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the nut mixture as a garnish.
- Press the crumb mixture on the bottom and along the sides of the greased and lined 9-inch pie.
- Bake crust for 8-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, over a double-boiler, melt the chocolate (with cinnamon if needed), butter, and almond butter, stirring occasional. Once melted, set aside to cool.
- Whisk the yolks with the sugar for about 6 minutes, until light and lemon colored, then whisk in the cayenne powder, vanilla, and spiced whisky. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. While whisking, gradually add the cane sugar and keep whisking until soft-peak stage.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate-egg mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Pour the batter into the baked crust and bake for 40-50 minutes. Watch the crust as it may get too toasty before pie is done cooking. Cover the edges with strips of foil or with pie crust guards. Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before diving in! Serve with coconut whipped cream, berry sauce, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some of the reserved nuts.
Glad that it was Pi(e) Day yesterday. I needed it. This week was a bit more hectic than normal for me. I think that for some stress therapy and for my well-being, a good-quality chocolate pie was just what the doctor ordered. Just ask Dr.Weil. I think he’d agree. 😀