Nov 26, 2014
Hillary

Healthy Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie 1

It’s been awhile. A really really long while. And a lot has happened. I’ve had some major things happen related to school, work and my personal life and throughout these next few posts I’ll probably share some of those things! Hint: I’m now wearing something super shiny and pretty on my ring finger!!! But, these last few weeks I’ve been wanting to find my way back here and to start sharing more recipes, more crafts, and more things related to my fitness routine. I’ve missed my blog time, even if only a handful of people read, because it is always a nice break from my work and school writing. Being a PhD student and having a research position that is focused on publishing papers means 90% of my time is spent on the computer reading and writing, writing and more writing. I need something completely unrelated to any of my research that allows me to escape and provides me another creative outlet.

So I’m back and I’m back for more than a hot second! With it being just two days before Thanksgiving, I thought it only fitting to share this chocolate pecan pie that believe it or not is actually healthy (or at least healthier!). Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to lighten up my sweets. If you’ve read previous posts, you know I have a major sweet tooth and that’s not something I want or try to fight. I find it’s better to just allow yourself to enjoy the food you love but indulge in the foods that aren’t the healthiest in moderate servings. This particular pie has NO butter, NO eggs, and NO brown sugar that is typically loading down your typical pecan pie. And it’s good. Actually, it’s fantastic. It’s a perfect example of enjoying a sweet treat without feeling all the guilt. I got this recipe from Terry Walter’s Clean Food Cookbook that I cannot recommend enough! You NEED to find a spot on your Thanksgiving table for this pie!

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

(Serves 10-12. Adapted from Terry Walter’s Clean Food Cookbook.)

Pie Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Pie Filling

  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lightly toasted pecans

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 9-inch pie dish. You want to first get your pie crust together and in the oven. In a food processor, combine the almonds, oats, cocoa and salt. Pulse everything until the almonds are broken down and you have a powder/crumb consistency.

Pecan Pie Crust

Pour in the maple syrup and the canola oil and process the mixture until everything is combined.

Pecan Pie Crust 2

Press the crust mixture into the pie dish. Be sure to press the mixture evenly and then pierce the bottom several times with a fork. This ensures that the crust doesn’t puff up while it bakes.

Pecan Pie Crust 3

Bake the crust for about 12 minutes and then let it cool in the pie dish on a cooling rack. While it cools, you can put the filling together.

Pecan Pie Crust 6

For the filling, you need to start with the flax eggs. Combine the ground flax with the water in a small bowl and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. It will thicken up. While your flax eggs do their thing, combine the apple juice, honey, cocoa powder and salt in a small pot. Heat the mixture over medium heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cashew butter to the flax egg mixture and then whisk it into the heated apple juice mixture. Continue to whisk everything until everything is completely combined and uniform. Take the mixture off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.

Pecan Pie Filling

The last thing to prepare for the filling are the pecans. I just used my toaster oven to lightly toast the pecan pieces.

Pecan Pie Pecans

Pour the pecans into the bottom of your cooled pie crust and then pour in the filling. Feel free to arrange some whole pecans on top for some decoration. This pie was just for Jor and myself so we kept it casual.

Pecan Pie Pre-Baked

You’ll notice that I had pie filling overload! I probably didn’t need to pour it all in or I could have pressed the pie crust up a little further. The filling smelled too delicious to waste a drop so in it all went!

Pecan Pie Pre-Baked 2

Cover the filled pie loosely with tin foil and let it bake for about 50 minutes. Your kitchen will start smelling like chocolatey-almond goodness and you might find yourself counting down the minutes till you can take it out.

Pecan Pie Cooked 2

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a wire cooling rack. You’ll want to cut right into it, BUT you really need to let the pie sit and cool. It’s the hardest step of the recipe! The pie will be enticing you closer and closer but I promise the wait will be well worth it! You can serve it room temperature or cold.

Pecan Pie Slice 2

 

I have to admit something: I’ve never actually made a full-size pie before this recipe! I was pretty nervous to make a pie and wasn’t confident how it would turn out and not because of the recipe itself but more because of my ability! Not only did this recipe come together perfectly and taste delicious but it was incredibly easy to make. Just to be sure I had all the pie-luck on my side, I used my Grandma’s pie dish (I’m sure it helped!). The crust is obviously different than your typical buttery crust but substituting with chocolate and almonds didn’t leave me feeling deprived or let down. But, can you really go wrong with almonds and chocolate? My answer to that is always, NO! I know pecan pie filling is typically a little on the loose side and this filling combo is no different. But it honestly tastes like it’s filled with all the egg and brown sugar goodness that you would typically find in a pecan pie. Except, there is no egg or brown sugar but there is the addition of chocolate! Perhaps that distracts you from not having the brown sugar and eggs but when something tastes this good, you’ll have friends thinking you’re lying to them when you tell them that this is a lighten up version of pecan pie!

You might already have a go-to pecan pie recipe but you HAVE to give this pie a chance. Scoot the green bean casserole over and move over the pumpkin pie to make room for this pie on Thanksgiving! And then make another one for after Thanksgiving because you’re going to disappointed when you only get one piece after sharing with your family and friends! I guarantee you’re going to want this more than once a year! For now, that’s chocolate pecan pie…in the shell of a nut!

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