Oh yes, I did. This thing is the bomb. And it’s seriously easy. And very low in processed sugar. And vegan. And gluten-free. And full of chocolate, pecans, and bourbon. I don’t, however, recommend eating a slice for breakfast the first thing in the morning. Not that I did. Or drove afterwards. Or felt at all woozy. Sheesh.
Last June I attended the BlogHer Food conference, where I met the folks from American Heritage Chocolate, a division of Mars. I’ll be telling you more about the chocolate during Friday’s giveaway, as they have put together a fantastic little gift basket for you. American Heritage Chocolate is an authentic chocolate recipe that was consumed during Colonial times, and includes an intriguing mix of spices that include anise, annatto, red pepper, and orange. If you’ve had Mexican hot chocolate, it’s somewhat similar. It’s sold online and at historic heritage sites like Colonial Williamsburg. Since I’m also a museum consultant, it was fascinating to meet them at a food bloggers conference.
After receiving some of their chocolate, I wanted to develop a recipe for a chocolate pecan pie that is vegan and gluten-free, and needs no apologies at the holiday table. You don’t even have to tell anybody it’s Special. I did a half recipe taste-test and took it to some friends, who scarfed it down, declaring it delicious and “just the right amount of boozy.” The espresso powder adds an incredible richness to the chocolate. It’s a tip I picked up from Joy the Baker.
I wanted to develop a new pie crust recipe that didn’t use xanthan gum, as some people are sensitive to it. The crust is very tasty, more like shortbread, flaky and buttery, and uses psyllium husk powder to help bind the flour in place of the xanthan gum. It didn’t hold together terribly well during the transfer from the waxed paper to the pie dish, so I recommend you press it in by hand. Or you can use my regular gluten-free pie crust recipe. If you want more healthy Thanksgiving ideas, please check out the Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge hosted by What Would Cathy Eat?
1/4 C. (48 g) potato starch
1/3 C. (45 g) garbanzo bean flour or Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF baking mix
1/3 C. (45 g) sweet sorghum flour
1/3 C. (40 g) gluten-free oat flour
1 t. (2 g) ground psyllium husks, aka psyllium husk powder
1/3 C. (80 ml) organic grapeseed or canola oil
1/4 C. (60 ml) hazelnut or other non-dairy milk
4 T. (20 g) ground flax seeds, plus 8 T. (120 ml) filtered water
2 C. (240 g) raw pecans
1 C. (145 g) chopped American Heritage or semi-sweet chocolate
1 C. (250 g) fresh Medjool dates
3/4 C. (180 ml) coconut milk (carton, not canned) or other nondairy milk
6 T. (90 ml) bourbon
1 T. (5 g) espresso powder, optional
1 T. (15 ml) vanilla extract
1 t. (2 g) sea salt
approximately 62 pecan halves, optional
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/gas mark 5.
Sift and measure each of the flours into a medium-sized bowl. Add the psyllium husks and stir with a whisk until evenly combined. Add the oil and milk and stir with a fork until just combined. My mom always said, “Should be streaky.”
Cut two pieces of waxed paper the size of your pie dish. Put the pie crust in between the sheets of waxed paper, rolling out into a circle that’s a little bigger than the bottom of the dish. Peel off the top piece of paper and turn the crust into the pie dish, peeling off the bottom piece evenly.
Use your fingers to press the pie crust evenly into the dish and up the sides, and then create a rolled edge just a bit below the rim of the dish. Do your best to get the crust even.
Put the ground flax seeds in a bowl with the water and let sit about five minutes. Add the pecans, chocolate, dates, coconut milk, bourbon, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Add in the flax seed mixture. Process about 5 minutes, until it’s a fairly smooth consistency and all the dates are incorporated. It’s fine to have a few chocolate chunks remaining (and you can add the chocolate towards the end if you’d like more melty chocolate pockets in the pie).
Spread the filling in the crust with a spatula, smoothing the top. Decorate the top with pecans. Choose pecans that are roughly the same size, and have them facing the same direction as you place them. You can do just one circle around the edge, or cover the top as I did. Think of it as a mindfulness meditation.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the center is firm. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before cutting.
Notes: You can use semi-sweet chocolate in place of the American Heritage Chocolate in this recipe. If you use unsweetened baking chocolate, you might have to add a few more dates or a touch of sugar. Taste it before baking.
Required FTC disclosure: The chocolate and pie dish were provided by American Heritage Chocolate. I was not paid to write this post.
All of our recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free, and made with plant-based ingredients to help you build a healthy life. We support Meatless Monday. Look for midweek essays and Friday how-to and giveaways (when available).
Can’t find espresso powder? Here it is: