Serves 8 to 12
This recipe, a family favorite, wows guests who never suspect that its main ingredient is tofu — even after finishing a sinfully rich slice of the pie. In the past, I've always billed the dessert as healthy, based on studies suggesting that soy products such as tofu can offer heart (cardiovascular) and anti-cancer benefits. In fact, I adapted this recipe from a fattier and more heavily sweetened version that was served to me and other attendees, years ago. It was during a luncheon at the First International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease.
Despite the pie's soy base, however, I often felt a twinge of guilt over the heavy dose of chocolate present in each slice.
With the newly emerging data on dark chocolate's flavonoids, I now feel less self-conscious about serving this dessert. I can point out that its bounty of chocolate may actually contribute to the pie's offering of a cardiovascular double whammy. And studies have indicated that the stearic acid in chocolate — a saturated fat — is actually a type that doesn't appear to raise cholesterol levels in the blood (as most sat fats do).
Want a triple whammy? Serve with a cup of strong, flavonoid-rich darjeeling tea. The especially good news: This pie is so rich that it's easy to be satisfied with a very small slice. Indeed, if you practice mindful eating, you will make it even harder to overindulge.
2 boxes of low-fat silken tofu (12.3-ounces each, any firmness. I use Mori-Nu)
1 10-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
a chocolate-cookie no-bake pie shell
raspberries or strawberries (for garnish)
whipped cream (if desired for garnish)
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler until the chips retain their shape but are soft as warm butter. Remove from heat.
Puree the tofu in a food processor — about 2 minutes — frequently scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that all of the tofu is converted from a soft brick into a warm-pudding consistency. Move to a mixing bowl. Now fold in the softened chocolate and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a chocolate-cookie pie shell and swirl the top to make soft peaks, like frosting a cake. Garnish with berries (healthy) and/or whipped cream (yummy but not very healthy). Then chill to set. Ready in 1 hour.
cancer Any of more than 100 different diseases, each characterized by the rapid, uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The development and growth of cancers, also known as malignancies, can lead to tumors, pain and death.
cardiovascular An adjective that refers to things that affect or are part of the heart and the system of vessels and arteries that move blood through the heart and tissues of the body.
cholesterol A fatty material in animals that forms a part of cell walls. In vertebrate animals, it travels through the blood in little vessels known as lipoproteins. Excessive levels in the blood can signal risks to blood vessels and heart.
chronic A condition, such as an illness (or its symptoms, including pain), that lasts for a long time.
fat A natural oily or greasy substance occurring in plants and in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs. Fat’s primary role is as an energy reserve. Fat also is a vital nutrient, though it can be harmful if consumed in excessive amounts.
flavonoids A group of yellowish compounds produced by plants. Many of these chemicals are anti-oxidants, meaning they can fight cellular damage from oxidation — often resulting in heart-healthy benefits.
mindful eating A ritual approach to eating that asks a diner to slowly taste and savor each bite of food, noticing its flavors, texture and how it makes you feel.
saturated fat A fat molecule made from chains of carbon atoms, where each carbon has at least two hydrogen atoms attached to it (those on the ends have three). These chains have no double bonds. Saturated fats are found in animal fats (such as butter and lard), as well as in vegetable fats (such as coconut oil). Their long, straight chains allow them to become solid at room temperature.
stearic acid (or stearate) A saturated fat found in many plant and animal tissues. Research has shown that this fat has an uncanny ability to lower cholesterol.