Sunday, 18 November 2012

Recipe for delicious vegan chocolate and strawberry pie

This one is all kinds of sinful, but no animals were harmed in the making of, the karma must cancel out some of the calories, right? :-) This has been a *huge* hit every single time I've made it - and it looks pretty, too! Don't be daunted by the recipe: Yes, it comes in three parts, and yes you need to make it in stages (the chocolate ganache needs at least a few hours to cool and set in the fridge before you can make the strawberry topping), but none of it is complicated. I purchased a pie tin with a removable bottom a while ago, and it's fantastic for this kind of pie. A spring-form tin will do the job well too, but I wouldn't use a pie tin with a fixed bottom as it will be hard to remove the pie from the tin and serve it without it falling apart.  


Biscuit pie crust:
  • 150 - 200 g vegan biscuits (I use wholemeal wheat and oat cookies, but any dry biscuit will do)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder 
  • 75 g vegan margarine
Chocolate ganache 
  • 400 g dark chocolate (most dark chocolate is vegan, check the ingredient list to be sure) 
  • one 400 ml can of coconut milk
Strawberry topping: 
  • 400 g of fresh strawberries
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tsp of agar agar powder 
  • 200 ml water
Pre-heat the oven at 180*C

1) Melt the margarine over a low heat  
2) Pulverise the biscuits using a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, try putting the cookies, 2-3 at a time, in a zip-lock bag, and rolling a glass bottle over them until they are crushed.
3) Stir the cocoa powder into the cookie crumbs, followed by the melted margarine, until they are well mixed
4) Press the sticky crumb mixture into a 22 cm pie tin to cover the bottom and sides. If you are using a higher spring-form tin, cover the sides up to about 3 cm.  
5) Bake at 180*C for 10 minutes, then set on a rack to cool. 

Chocolate ganache:
6) Break the chocolate into pieces, put into a heat-proof bowl (e.g. stainless steel or pyrex) with the coconut milk
7) Place your bowl on a small saucepan filled with water, so that part of the bowl is submerged in the water. Place the saucepan on the stove over a low heat, and stir the chocolate and coconut milk until fully melted and combined
8) Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or longer of course, if that fits your schedule better), until the ganache has set. Only then prepare the strawberry topping.

Strawberry topping: 
9) take about 100g of the least pretty and ripe strawberries, and puree them with the water, lemon juice and maple syrup or other sweetener. Taste and add more syrup if necessary. 
10) halve the remaining strawberries, and place them cut-side-down on the chocolate ganache. I like to make concentric circles, but be creative and turn it into your own work of art :-) 
11) In a saucepan, gently bring the strawberry puree to a simmer, stir in the agar agar, and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
12) Carefully pour the mixture over the strawberries on the pie, until the top is evenly covered. Do this right after removing the saucepan from the heat, as the agar agar will begin to solidify immediately. 
13) Place the cake back in the fridge, until the topping has completely cooled down and set. In hot weather, store the cake in the fridge until use, or your ganache might melt :-)

This. Is. Fricking. Delicious.