I’m always searching for great vegan dessert recipes so that my godson, who is deathly allergic to eggs, can enjoy everything that the rest of us do. However, I also only want to make things that everyone enjoys – not something that people will eat and say “well, for vegan, it’s pretty good.” My husband and I are having Shabbat dinner with my niece and my godchildren asked if I would make the dessert. I found a recipe for a chocolate cream pie that is wonderful and I have been reading all about something called aquafaba as an egg substitute. Aquafaba is the liquid in the can of chickpeas (or chickpeas that you cook yourself) that most of us drain off and discard. Well apparently, it shares many of the same protein qualities as eggs without adding any strange tastes. So now you can make all of those lovely meringue kisses or even lemon meringue pie – without eggs. You could also cover this pie with whipped cream, but since my niece also keeps Kosher and we are having meat for Shabbat dinner, I am going with the vegan meringue. No one who eats this will say anything other than “more please!”
Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie adapted from Chocolate Cream Pie by Claryn
Yield: One 9-inch pie
1 baked 9-inch pie crust of your choice (I’m actually making an Oreo crust this time for the children and Oreos are vegan)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons almond or vanilla soy milk
2 Tablespoons strong black coffee
1 15–ounce can coconut milk (the higher the fat percentage, the better)
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate (I used a Valhrona 64%) finely chopped. (You don’t want to use a chocolate with a higher cacao percentage because it simply won’t have enough cocoa butter in it and the custard will not work correctly.)
1 tsp vanilla
chocolate curls, optional or dust with sifted cocoa powder if using whipped cream as your topping
- In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
- Gradually whisk almond OR vanilla soy AND coconut milks and black coffee into dry mixture.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer.
- Whisk constantly until custard is thick – it happens suddenly so watch carefully.
- Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour filling into cooled pie crust, tilting the pie dish as needed until it’s evenly distributed.
- Cover chocolate filling with plastic wrap pressed right onto the top and let cool for at least 3 hours (or overnight), until fully set.
- Right before serving, top very generously with whipped cream or vegan meringue.
- Garnish with chocolate curls. (Optional)
For Vegan Meringue and the lessons I learned in using it!
Okay, I just made this for the first time and this is magic! It looks and tastes and feels just like meringue – only it’s totally vegan! Who EVER thought of using chickpea liquid this way? Just incredible.
1 15 OR 16 ounce can of chickpeas – put a colander over a large mixing bowl and pour the chickpeas in to drain the brine into the mixing bowl. Put the chickpeas in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.
¾ of a cup of finely ground sugar – grind regular sugar in a blender if you don’t have finely ground sugar
¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
1.5 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
In a large standing mixer bowl add the cream of tarter to the brine (aquafaba) and mix with the balloon whisk attachment on a high speed until combined. Turn off the mixer and add the sugar and vanilla and mix on a high speed for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meringue forms stiff peaks. After this is placed over the chocolate pie filling, you can take a kitchen blow torch and brown the edges of the meringue peaks. You could also do this under the broiler watching VERY CAREFULLY. Refrigerate for several hours to make sure that everything is fully set.
If you are using this as a pie topping, put it on at the last minute. I first topped my pie the night before and the next day, I had all of this sticky liquid on the shelf in my fridge and down the sides of the pie dish. So I scooped the meringue off the top of the pie, cleaned up the mess and started over. This time I placed only about half of the meringue over the top of the pie and I didn’t go to the edges of the pie. It still gave off some liquid over the course of a few hours before we ate dessert, but it wasn’t too bad. However, I took the remaining half of meringue and put it in a container in my fridge to see what would happen and to try baking some meringue kisses. The meringue gave off some more liquid which went to the bottom of the container, but the remaining meringue was stiffer, which was what I actually wanted.
So my advice is that if you have the time, make the miraculous meringue the day or morning before you need it and place it in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl in the fridge. I do this with whipped cream all the time. The resulting cream or meringue will be a bit more dense and you will have none of the liquid on the dessert because it went through the stariner into the bowl below.