March 2009 archive

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Dairy-Free)

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter, a match made in Heaven. As good little Weston Price followin’ sugar hatin’ unprocessed foodies, we have to get our peanut butter cup flavor fixes the homespun route. We must conjure up low carb alternatives with nut flours, healthful saturated fats, sugar substitutes, and pure unadulterated cacao. Our desserts don’t come easy and don’t come cheap. There’s no vending machine button for this stuff.

But the payoff for some serious kitchen time is so worth it.

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So sorry to keep y’all in suspense about this low carb, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free (whew!) Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart recipe. The photo for my initial test run is apparently the most popular image at my flickr album. I was just tweaking the recipe to provide a couple of options for ingredients. After some tinkering, I hit upon two different fillings with slightly different consistencies, only one of which requires xanthan gum. Xanthan gum acts as a no carb replacement for the cornstarch used in typical pudding recipes. It is a specialty ingredient that I’ve blogged about before. Xanthan gum costs around $13 for a small bag that will last you for years if you’re a low carber (not a high starch gluten-free baker!). There are many applications of this natural gum thickener, some of which include thickening your low carb smoothies to a luxurious “milkshake” consistency, and making cranberry sauce. It’s an innocuous ingredient with a strange name. Just a tiny pinch goes a long way!

Now let’s talk dessert! The recipe I made the first time yields a more loose “pudding” tart, with a light tasting lower fat filling. It makes a dainty pudding pie, with a creamy texture and crunchy crust (which could be doubled for more peanut buttery goodness). The Chocolate Pudding Tart is what you see in the following photograph.

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To make either of the recipes completely sugar-free, use xylitol in place of honey if you can tolerate it. I can handle xylitol in normal portions (one cookie, one piece of pie, etc.), but had to ingest it regularly for a few days to “adjust” to it. Xylitol works much better than erythritol in cookie-type recipes that do not contain much moisture. How you count the carbs in xylitol is up to you. Some people count half, because it does not have a glycemic index of zero like erythritol. I buy xylitol locally at Whole Foods (instead of ordering it) for convenience. It retails for a better price than erythritol, so per pound it is the same price as ordering online (unless you buy in bulk). Xylitol is a great stand in for erythritol in a pinch if you need your sweet “fix”!

Chocolate Pudding Tart with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust (Dairy-Free)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
Peanut Butter Cookie Crust:
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated shortening (or unsalted butter)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract

Chocolate Pudding Filling:
1 can coconut milk
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup erythritol OR 3 tablespoons honey
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil or nonhydrogenated shortening (or butter)
1/4 (scant) teaspoon pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Instructions for crust:
Melt shortening or butter in a microwaveable bowl. Whisk in honey and stevia extract. Grind peanuts in a food processor or Magic Bullet, until you get as fine a meal as possible. The peanuts should be the consistency of a crumbly paste. Add peanut paste, baking powder, and vanilla, stirring it together with a spatula until you have a smooth dough. Press into a greased 9 inch pie plate lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 275 degrees, or until browned around the edges. Leave crust in oven and turn off the heat while you prepare the chocolate and start heating the coconut milk.

Instructions for filling:
Chop the unsweetened chocolate bar finely. In a sauce pan over medium low heat, whisk coconut milk, erythritol or honey, and sea salt until mixture bubbles around the edges. Remove tart crust from oven and place in freezer to cool. In a separate bowl, stream 1/3 cup reserved coconut milk into cocoa powder, whisking to form a paste. Continue whisking while adding egg yolks to cocoa paste mixture. Measure out 1/2 cup of hot coconut milk from saucepan and stream into cocoa paste yolk mixture, whisking. Turn down heat to low and slowly pour the cocoa paste yolk mixture into saucepan, continuing to whisk. Cook for about three minutes, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (to see what this looks like click HERE). Your finger should leave a trail if you drag it across the coated spoon. Remove immediately from heat and add shortening (or butter), vanilla extract, xanthan gum, and stevia. Pour through a fine mesh sieve (I use a regular wire strainer) on to chopped chocolate, and whisk just until the filling is smooth and glossy. Blend in a blender for an ultra smooth consistency. Pour into baked tart crust. Transfer to refrigerator and cover with a paper towel covered with aluminum foil, careful not to let the paper towel touch the top (I pull it tightly over top and secure the covering with more plastic wrap). Chill overnight.

~9g net carbs per 1/8th of a recipe (using honey in the crust)

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Below is the more decadent Chocolate “Silk” Pie filling, topped with a layer of sugar-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache! It makes a larger, more impressive tart. The crust is less sweet and a bit cakey, which balances out the intensity of the rich chocolate. I’ll be making this version from now on, just because of how utterly satisfying it is. A tiny slice is all you need to feel like you’re being naughty! With desserts like these, who needs sugar?

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For an extra smooth silk pie filling, blend the filling in a food processor or blender after you stir in the chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Silk Pie (Dairy-Free)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Crust:
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR nonhydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum Organic)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup blanched almond flour, packed
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup xylitol, powdered, OR 2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract

Chocolate Silk Filling:
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup erythritol or 4 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (like Ghirardelli)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons coconut oil, nonhydrogenated shortening, OR organic unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon (scant) pure stevia extract

Preparation:

Instructions for peanut butter crust:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt peanut butter together with butter in a heat proof bowl. Stir in vanilla, egg, and honey or xylitol, if using. Add dry ingredients and stir to form a dough. It may be sticky, but will come together. Press up the sides of a 9 inch tart pan or pie plate, greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper. If you’re making the crust with honey, turn down oven to 275 degrees, and place tart on middle rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and do not open the door. Chop the chocolate and set your coconut milk heating. If you’re making the crust with xylitol, bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges.

Instructions for chocolate silk filling:

Heat 1 1/4 cup coconut milk, erythritol or honey, and salt, and simmer on low. Whisk together rest of coconut milk, and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg until foamy. Stream 1/2 cup of the warmed coconut milk mixture from the saucepan to the eggs, whisking constantly, and then add egg mixture into saucepan. Keep whisking! Cook for 3-5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring until mixture coats the back of a spoon (see above instructions for visual). Immediately remove pan from heat, and stir in vanilla, shortening (or butter), and stevia extract. Once butter has melted, strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve on to chopped chocolate. Stir until filling is a smooth, glossy consistency. Blend in a blender, briefly, for an ultra smooth consistency. Pour filling into tart shell, almost to the brim. You might have some filling left over, which you can pour into muffin cups and freeze for snacks. Cool tart uncovered in the freezer until the top becomes firm, then transfer to refrigerator and cover with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Store pie slices in an airtight container to keep the filling moist.

~8g net carbs per 1/10th of a recipe (using honey in the crust)

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Before serving, top filling with this smooth, candy inspired dairy-free topper if you’d like an alternative to real whipped cream. Make this. It’s the BEST part of the pie!

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cup Ganache Topping

1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (no-stir or extra smooth ground)
1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated shortening or butter
2 tablespoons erythritol OR 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
1/8 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract (if using erythritol)

Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or Magic Bullet for about a minute until finely ground. Lettle settle in container for a minute or two. Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in microwave on HIGH for 35 seconds, stirring until completely melted. Melt for 10 more seconds if necessary. Stir in erythritol and stevia with a spatula, smoothing out the chocolate until it is glossy and lump-free. Spread on to tart. Let topping set in the refrigerator, and cover tart again for storage.

~1.3g net carbs per 1/10th of a recipe

Product Review: NuNaturals stevia

This review is long overdue! I decided to write this post after trying another terrible tasting brand of stevia yesterday, in a fit of desperation. Desperation to do some low carb baking, here in my hometown for the week, without my beloved stevia…

NuNaturals makes the ONLY non-bitter pure stevia extract I have ever come across (and I’ve tried many!), free of fillers. It’s by far the BEST brand of stevia extract, used in all of the dessert recipes you see on this blog.

The trick to making delicious sugar-free sweet treats with stevia is simply using the proper amount. Less is more. Some of the sweetness in stevia “bakes out,” so you must make the batter a bit sweeter (almost to the point of bitterness) than you want the baked good to be. The trick to getting the best flavor with stevia is to combine it with another natural sweetener. Stevia alone does not yield the best results in many applications. In baked goods, I pair it with erythritol, because erythritol imparts some of the textural properties of sugar. Erythritol has none of the side effects of the other sugar alcohols (ingesting reasonable portions). You must taste as you go when working with stevia. You officially have permission to eat the dough!

I get NuNaturals Pure Stevia Extract at my local Whole Foods for $8.99 for 1 oz, and online at iherb.com for $8.39. If you don’t bake as much as I do, it’ll last you quite awhile! Considering it only takes 1/16th of a teaspoon of pure stevia extract to sweeten one mug of creamy (organic!) coffee with no calories or carbohydrates, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Interestingly enough, my tastebuds have grown to like stevia so much that sugary sweets now have an “aftertaste.” I’m considering investing in the large size container at some point. How many healthy cupcakes could THIS bad boy make?

The Oregon based NuNaturals company sent me a sampler package ages ago, which I happily worked my way through. Here are some of their other tasty offerings:

Alcohol Free Stevia! This tiny dropper bottle is ideal for tucking in your purse. Perfect for sweetening a cup of coffee on the run!


Stevia packets
! Ditch the pink, blue, and yellow. Go for the purple!

And just to tempt y’all, here are some upcoming treats. Am working on that chocolate peanut butter pie, which is going up this weekend! Promise.

Chocolate Pudding Pie
with a PB Cookie Crust
Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie


Fruity Sherry Cake (Grain-Free)

Fruity Sherry Cake

Share your experiences with stevia! What brands/methods have worked for you?

Interesting content from other blogs:
Information on Sea Salt @ Mark’s Daily Apple
Breakfast Casserole Recipe with Sweet Italian Sausage @ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Askinosie Chocolate Giveaway @ Nourishing Days