I actually first made this pie quite a while ago (some of you may remember that I posted about it on Facebook), but I’ve been holding on to the recipe, clinging to it like Scrooge gripping his last penny so that I could save it for this very post. Seriously, this is one is a show-stopper, a perfect finale to a holiday meal or any special occasion. And it’s worth every second of the effort involved.
I recently served this to a friend of the HH’s who came for dinner (he’s a typical Standard American Diet kinda guy–McMuffin for breakfast, cheeseburger for lunch, Pringles on the go and pizza for dinner) and he scraped the plate clean, eagerly accepting a second serving. The HH, who is fond of any dessert that’s light, cool and creamy, declared this to be one of my best recipes to date. I think so, too.
The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself to be a “pie person.” There are folks who adore pies; those who dive right in to the filling, virtually ignoring the crust; and, alternately, those who pick away at the pastry indifferent to the oozing cherries or blueberries or glistening apple slices within. I would normally consider myself one of the latter, if I ever ate pie at all. I thought of the filling as merely a “crust delivery vehicle.”
In this case, though, the entire package must be savored, the layers of crust, ganache, mousse and drizzle melding together in one tantalizing confection. The base is a chocolate shortbread crust, adapted from the recipe in Sweet Freedom (revamped to be gluten-free and ACD-friendly). Next is a layer of intense dark chocolate ganache, a perfect marriage of smooth and condensed. The top layer, a serendipitous combination of coconut whipped cream, smooth almond butter and dark chocolate, is so pillowy, rich and creamy that you may need a moment to compose yourself after you take your first sinful bite.
I also experimented with the pie as a torte in a springform pan, with an equally enticing outcome. So no matter what your own preference, you can still enjoy this exquisite dessert.
Depending on which format you choose, you may end up with a tad extra ganache at the end of the process. In fact, I found myself with about 1/2 cup (120 ml) left over after the pie was assembled.
So, what did I do with it?
[Pumpkin Oatmeal Bowl with Chocolate Ganache Swirl.]
Oh, yes. Yes, I did. 😉 Maybe I am a pie person, after all.
Black Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
(Suitable for ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
This is a perfect dessert to serve at a special occasion, a holiday meal, or any time you want to impress your guests. No one will believe there’s no dairy, eggs, or refined sugar in this amazing confection!
For the Crust:
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) light or dark agave nectar or coconut nectar
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tsp (5 ml) water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (270 ml) Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1/4 cup (35 g) brown rice flour
1/4 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (non alkalized/Dutch process is best)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) powdered pure stevia (I like NuNaturals)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) xanthan gum
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic, at room temperature (not melted)
For the Ganache:
7 ounces (200 g) good quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use Cocoa Camino; I’ve heard that Scharffen Berger is also great)
1/4 cup (60 ml) smooth natural almond butter (I prefer Maranatha, but Nuts to You worked, too)
1-1/2 cups (360 ml)** full-fat coconut milk (from a can), preferably organic (I use Thai Kitchen, which has a high fat content; I can’t guarantee results with other brands)
1/3 cup (80 ml) plain or vanilla rice, soy, or almond milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
40 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia (I use NuNaturals)
1/3 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
For the Almond Mousse:
2 cups** (480 ml) full-fat coconut milk (from a can), preferably organic (I use Thai Kitchen, which has a high fat content; I can’t guarantee results with other brands)
1 cup (240 ml) smooth natural almond butter (I prefer Marantha; Nuts to You worked well, too)
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
60 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, about 1 tsp/5 ml (I use NuNaturals)
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure almond extract
1 level teaspoon (5 ml) xanthan gum
** I used two cans (400 ml or 14 oz) for this entire recipe. Measure out the 1-1/3 cups/320 ml for the ganache; you should have about 2 cups left for the mousse.
Bake the Crust: Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a 9-inch ( cm) pie plate or 8-1/2 inch ( cm) springform pan with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Mix the coconut sugar, agave nectar, vanilla and water in a smal bowl and mix to begin dissolving the sugar. Set aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend the all-purpose flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, stevia, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until well combined. Add the coconut oil and pulse a few times to break it up, then blend until well distributed (it will look dry and crumbly; this is as it should be). Pour the wet mixture in a ring over the dry and process again until it comes together in a dough.
Press the dough into the pie plate or on the bottom only of the springform pan (if it’s too soft to stay on the sides of the pie plate, refrigerate it for about ten minutes and then re-press; flute edges if desired.) Prick the bottom of the crust here and there with a fork.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, until dry and lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool while you prepare the ganache.
Prepare the Ganache: Place all ingredients in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over lowest possible heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary by adding more stevia, a drop or two at a time (you can add more coconut sugar if you like, but unless you continue to cook the mixture, it won’t dissolve and your ganache will be grainy).
Measure out 2 cups (480 ml) of the mixture and pour it over the crust in the pie plate or pan; reserve the rest to drizzle on top of the pie. Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the ganache can firm up.
When the ganache is firm, make the mousse: In the container of a high-powered blender (I use a VitaMix), place all ingredients except for the xanthan gum. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute, until everything is well mixed and very smooth. Add the xanthan gum and blend on low speed until incorporated, then blend on high for 15 seconds or so, until the mixture firms up and appears to no longer be blending; this should happen fairly quickly. (If you don’t have a VitaMix, you can still make this, but you will need to make the mousse in two batches as a regular blender will not be strong enough to mix the entire thing at once; this even stresses the VitaMix a bit! Use exactly half of each ingredient in each batch, then proceed as follows).
Turn the mousse into the prepared crust and spread evenly over the ganache (or you can swirl it into a fancy pattern on top if you like). Drizzle as much of the reserved ganache as you like in a random pattern over the top of the mousse. Refrigerate until the ganache and filling are both firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cut slices from the pie plate, or, to unmold the springform pan, run a sharp knife along the edge before loosening the sides of the pan. Makes 8-10 servings. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 5 days. May be frozen (I freeze individual slices on a cookie sheet in the freezer; once solid, I wrap each slice in plastic wrap, then store the wrapped slices in a ziploc bag. To defrost, remove the slices and allow to defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator).
Last Year at this Time: My Way of Eating (my food philosophy, sort of)
Two Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Brazil Nut-Cilantro Pesto (gluten free; All Stages)
Three Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: “My Life in Balance” Buttery Spread (gluten-free; ACD maintenance only)
© Ricki Heller, Ricki Heller
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