This was almost as fun to make as it was to eat. That's because the crust is simply made of toasted pecans, maple, coconut oil and salt blitzed up in a food processor. And the dark chocolate mousse filling comes together quickly in one sauce pan on the stovetop. Once the two components are layered into a pie plate, the pie goes into the fridge (or freezer, if impatient) for a few hours to set. No baking involved, naturally free of gluten and dairy, and only simple ingredients required.
I suppose you could argue that "simple" is a matter of opinion...and the status of your pantry. Pecans might be hidden from plain view in some places (I'm looking at you, Madrid!). But please make the effort to find them for this dessert. I'm usually very flexible with recipes, but no other nut will do in this case. Pecans are sold in many places if you look beyond your everyday market -- local bulk food stores, Amazon, and Costco (if you're near one) all have them.
My bossiness is coming out here because the unique charm of this recipe comes from the chocolate pecan combo. When combined with maple, coconut oil, and salt, the toasted pecans make for the softest, most buttery base. Something you can't achieve from harder nuts such as almonds. And the slight bitterness from deeply toasting the pecans enhances the chocolate flavor, similar to how coffee adds depth to chocolate cakes and sauces. The dark chocolate filling is rich and creamy due to coconut cream and coconut milk. It's spiked with vanilla and a hint of cinnamon for a deeper chocolate flavor. And the tartness from the berry topping cuts through the richness, adding another dimension that wouldn't be there if it were topped with the usual whipped (coconut) cream.
It's amazing how the simplest of tweaks to our everyday cooking habits can transform the flavor of a dish. I realized how good deeply toasted pecans were in this pie after burning 1/3 of my pecans while testing the recipe. I used them anyways hoping the other 2/3s of lightly toasted pecans would offset the burnt ones. And I was floored by the results. OK, I'm not suggesting you burn your pecans, but do try to let them go slightly longer than you normally would (~1 or 2 extra minutes, depending on how hot your oven is).
This is a seriously good chocolate pie. Hopefully it makes it into one of your holiday meals. But more importantly, I hope your holiday season is filled with joy, peace, and nourishment. I'm so grateful that you are a part of this Whole Nourishment community. Thank you for reading the posts, cooking the recipes, watching the videos, commenting, and writing in to me. Your support, interest, and engagement means the world; it inspires and motivates me to continue sharing recipes and strategies that bring nourishment, peace, and clarity to body and mind in our everyday lives. And I can't wait to connect with you and share more in 2018!
Chocolate Mousse Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust
Notes: This is a rich and decadent dark chocolate treat. Recipe calls for chocolate with 72% cacao. Anything between 70-75% will work. This makes extra chocolate filling. And that's a good thing! Pour extra filling into medium size tea cups for individual mousse-like desserts. Serve topped with crumbled sweet biscuits or amoretti cookies. Alternatively, you could turn this entire pie into individual desserts by lining each tea cup with the pecan crust, then topping with the filling.
- 200 ml can of coconut cream (~ 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
- 1-15 oz/400 ml full fat coconut milk, divided
- 200 gr. dark chocolate bar (72% cacao), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp. (61 gr.) coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- Heaped 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- Heaped 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Toasted pecan crust (recipe below)
- To top: Frozen mixed berries, semi-thawed
- Place a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add coconut cream, coconut milk (reserving the last 1/4 of liquid), finely chopped chocolate, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt to pot. Let melt and combine into a homogeneous mixture, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust to your liking. (Make sure you love it at this point because this is how the end product will taste.)
- Once chocolate is melted, whisk arrowroot powder into reserved coconut milk until dissolved. Pour into chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Continue cooking for two more minutes, stirring frequently, or until mixture has thickened. (If using cornstarch, to fully activate it be sure to cook mixture until you see the first bubbles form at the surface.) To test thickness, run your finger through chocolate sauce on the spatula. The sauce should stay separated.
- Stir in vanilla. Place pot on a cooling rack and allow to cool 20 minutes while making crust.
- Pour filling into crust until it reaches just below the top edge of crust. Pour leftover filling into individual tea cups or glass pots.
- Place pie in the freezer for at least 2 hours to firm up. Remove from freezer 20-30 minutes before serving, so it softens a bit. Serve topped with mixed berries. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Toasted Pecan Crust
Notes: The directions suggest deeply toasting pecans. The slight bitterness from almost over-toasting nicely compliments the dark chocolate mousse filling.
- 1 1/2 cups (165 gr.) pecans, toasted
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Line a 9.5 in (24 cm) pie plate with a piece of parchment paper large enough to run up the inside walls of plate. If you use a pie plate larger than suggested dimensions, the crust will be too thin.
- Set oven to 200 C/400 F. Put pecans on a baking tray and place in oven immediately, while the oven is preheating. Bake 11-12 minutes, or until pecans are fragrant and deeply toasted. Remove from oven and transfer pecans to a large food processor. (If you're using a mini processor, you may have to do this is two batches.)
- Pulse pecans to a fine crumb. (Be careful not to over process, or you'll get nut butter!) Add melted coconut oil, maple, and salt. Pulse a few times, then let the motor run for a few seconds until dough just begins to stick together and form a ball.
- Dump into lined pie plate and use your fingers (occasionally dipped in a bowl of water to avoid sticking) to distribute dough evenly around the bottom and partially up the sides.