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from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Graham Cracker Crust:
12 graham crackers, or 1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c canola oil
1 tbsp soy milk

Chocolate Pie Filling:
1 pound silken tofu (not the vacuum-packed kind), drained
1/4 c hazelnut liqueur (I used coffee liqueur, but the recipe says rice or soy milk work too)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
12 oz bittersweet vegan baking chocolate, melted

Maple Candied Pecans:
1 c pecans
2 tsp canola oil
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Peanut Butter Caramel:
1/3 c peanut butter, smooth or chunky, at room temperature
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Chocolate Drizzle:
4 oz bittersweet vegan chocolate, chopped, or 1/4 c vegan chocolate chips
1/4 c soy or rice milk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

Prepare the crust: Process the grahams into fine crumbs. Place them in a bowl and drizzle the oil on them. Use your fingertips or a fork to mix in the oil until all crumbs are moistened; sprinkle in the soy milk and mix again. Pour the crumbs into the pie plate and firmly press them to the bottom and sides of the plate. Set aside.

Prepare the filling: First, melt your chocolate. Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor. Add the liqueur, vanilla, and arrowroot to the tofu and blend until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything. Add the melted chocolate and blend again until completely mixed. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. The center may still be jiggly but that’s fine.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack on the countertop for10 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The top of the pie should be firm to the touch.

Meanwhile , prepare your candied pecans: cover a large plate with baking parchment. Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and stir them very frequently for 3 minutes, until they start to brown. Stir constantly for 2 more minutes, until they are a few shades darker and relatively uniformly toasted. (If a few don’t look toasted, don’t worry about it. That’s better than having them burn.)

Add the oil and salt, and stir for another minute. Add the maple syrup, stirring constantly for about a minute.  The maple syrup should get bubbly and dry. Use a spatula to transfer the pecans to the plate and spread them out as much as you can; it’s best if they aren’t touching. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

Once the pie has been chilling for at least 3 hours, prepare the peanut butter caramel and chocolate drizzle. Have your pie out and ready to be assembled.

To prepare the peanut butter caramel: Stir all the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Gently heat everything over low heat, stirring constantly with a fork, just until smooth and heated through. It should fall from your fork in ribbons. If it seems stiff, turn off the heat immediately and add a little extra brown rice syrup, until it’s fluid again. (This happens because different peanut butters have different amounts of moisture.)

Pour the peanut butter over the center of the pie, leaving an inch or two bare at the edges because it spreads. Get your pecans and place them on top of the caramel, pressing them in firmly. You may have to break the pecans apart from one another if they cooled touching.

Prepare the chocolate drizzle: In a small saucepan, heat the soy milk to boiling, then add the chocolate and turn down the heat. Use a fork to stir until completely blended. Turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

You can drizzle the chocolate over the pie with a spoon, but we like to put it in a pastry bag fitted with a wide writing tip and drizzle it that way, in stripes. Chill the pie for at least 10 minutes before serving, so that the chocolate firms up a bit. Serves 8.

Where do I start?!? I made this pie for my husband’s birthday. He loves pecans. He loves a gooey dessert as much as any sane person does, and chocolate isn’t too far down on his list of likes either. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a special occasion; you know how I like a simple recipe, so this 5-part pie was a true expression of my love. I also asked him what he wanted for dinner on his birthday, and after a quick perusal of my blog, he chose this chili. Which was a huge relief, since it’s so easy and could be prepared ahead of time, leaving me the day to work on the pie and finish a painting for his gift.
The pie was INSANE. Insanely rich, insanely good. That peanut butter caramel is TO DIE FOR, and those maple candied pecans aren’t too bad either. Both of those I’d make again without making the rest of the pie- they’d be great toppings for ice cream or a simple cake. The chocolate filling is so dense and luscious. The only silken tofu available at the market was the vacuum packed kind, and it turned out really well; so I don’t know what the big deal is. Do you? The liqueur added a richness that I don’t think I was quite ready for. So did that chocolate drizzle! Maybe I’m just a lightweight, but I almost could not handle this pie. What I’d change if I were to make it again- I think I’d double the crust recipe. I had a hard time getting ample crust coverage on the pie plate. I’d make extra PB caramel. I would like more of it on the pie, and more to lick out of the saucepan. I’d also omit that chocolate drizzle. I don’t know if Mike would be very happy about that, but I feel that the caramel and pecans should be the star here, not the chocolate. But I guess it wouldn’t be so over the top with only four parts, right? Happy birthday Mike! I love you! xoxoxoxoxo

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