Check out the source of my most recent chocolate delusions and what’s been driving me mad for a few weeks of constantly thinking ’bout it. Vegan. Hershey’s. Pie. You know, the one you got from Burger King.
I’m a lifelong vegetarian. When I used to go to fast food joints, my options have always been limited. Combined with a finicky taste, I never really ate more than a large fry with a soda. Looking back, I cringe now at the amount of sugar I’d have in a span of a day. This would happen 1,2, and sometimes 3 times a day if I was with my dad, or if my mom was busy and resorted to fast or convenience foods for my siblings and I. As many families with low income and a working mom have, we relied on fast food to meet our needs if and when (and it happened more often than it does now) my mom had no time. Working 3 jobs and then eventually raising two babies took its toll.
There was a time when I was about 8 or 9 years old that my older sister got a job at the local Burger King. For a 16 year old, that was big. She was great at her job, and she got on well with the management. So well, that even when a customer was acting rude, despite a “customer’s always right” policy, she fought back but didn’t get fired. Which is good, because she was our gateway to occasional, extra fast-food. I don’t endorse it now, quite to the contrary, but it was awesome at the time. She would bring us home fries, onion rings, and I’m pretty sure it was my sister that introduced me to the more recent favorite: Hershey’s Sundae Pie. Any time I’d go, I’d combine the fries and onion rings, with a soda or juice and a slice of Hershey’s Pie for dessert. The layers of chocolate mousse and whipped cream piped perfectly into a chocolate cookie crust, topped with a drizzle of chocolate syrup, all make up the dessert of my dreams. Chocolate-loving dream. I felt sophisticated as a kid, enjoying something I thought only older people would like. That was my impression, anyway.
Need I say more? It’s about $1.99 but totally worth every penny because it is so creamy and satisfying. But since going vegan, my visits to fast food places like Burger King are relegated to being only last-ditch bathroom visits. And, since going vegan, one of my only remaining foods on my ‘to-veganize’ list has been this treasured piece of pie. Now, I’m not much into over-the-top, extra fatty desserts that take a while to prepare. To me, a while is any amount of time I have to wait to enjoy any component of the dish. I’m not the type to eat raw cream cheese-y batter, so this dessert for me takes a while to reach a payoff.
But, to my surprise, the payoff was totally satisfying.
Chocolate Cookie Crust (Halved recipe from allrecipes.com, modified):
- 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP sugar, pulsed until a finer crystal(but not powdery yet)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (black cocoa powder looks more authentic)
- Pinch of Salt
- 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance margarine
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add melted Earth Balance and mix thoroughly.
- Press mixture evenly into a 9 inch pie pan.
- Bake for roughly 10 minutes, or until pie starts to bubble slightly at bottom and is firm at the sides.
Filling (adapted from Very Best Baking, halved):
- 4 oz. Semisweet Chocolate or Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
- 1 8 oz. package of Tofutti Cream Cheese
- 1/4 Cup + 2 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 2 TBSP Sugar
- 1 TBSP Soy or Almond Milk
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Beat together cream cheese, sugars, soy/almond milk, and vanilla extract on high for 2 minutes.
- Add melted chocolate, and beat for an additional 2 minutes, scraping down sides.
- Grab a piping bag fitted with a medium sized circle tip, and ‘kiss’ the filling into the pie crust (the same method used to make Hershey’s kisses), leaving space for the whipped cream filling.
Whipped Cream Filling:
- Can of Coconut Cream, chilled for at least 8 hours
- 2 TBSP Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 – 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract, to taste.
- From can of coconut cream, spoon all of the solid fat on top into a mixing bowl, carefully avoiding any of the remaining milk at the bottom.
- Using a whisk attachment in a standing mixer, or regular beaters will do, beat the coconut cream until fluffy and light, scraping sides to maintain a light consistency, for approximately 5 minutes on high.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and extract, tasting for sweetness (should not be sweet because the pie is plenty sweet enough), but just enough to tie the flavor together.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a slightly smaller circular tip, use the same method to fill empty spaces with the whipped cream filling. Avoid piling it in there, because the pie itself has chocolate filling on top, so the whipped cream shouldn’t peak out much.
- Use a spatula or the back of a spoon that has been dipped in a little bit of lukewarm water to smooth out the layer slightly to create a foundation for the top pipework. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until firm, in which time you can make the chocolate drizzle.
- One the pie is done firming up, you can take a smaller circular tip and fit it to the chocolate filling bag. Begin piping smaller ‘kisses’ above the bottom layer of the pie, until it is completely covered and the pie crust is full.
- 4 oz Semisweet Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
- 1/4 cup Soy or Almond Milk
- In a small saucepan, heat the soy/almond milk until scalding, then remove from heat.
- Add chocolate, stir to incorporate and until all chocolate melts evenly.
- Once cool, pipe using a small tip (or if you’re not looking to be fancy, you can just drizzle with a spoon but it will not be as clean looking) in hatch lines across the top of the pie, sort of like the latticework of the crust on a fruit pie. To do that, just pipe in evenly spaced lines going in one direction, then again going in a perpendicular direction.
- Refrigerate pie until all is cool, or about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Additionally, you can (and I strongly encourage it) add piped whipped cream to the top. Mine was sloppy because a) I was rushing and b) taste counted more to me and c) I didn’t have the best piping technique. Practice would come in handy.
- Slice with a knife that preferably has been dipped into warm-ish water for a second to maintain a clean cut.
This lasted about 4 days in my fridge before it was gone, so you can count on it being around for a while if you want it to last. I don’t know how well it freezes, but it is delicious enough that I don’t think it will last that long.