A Valentine’s Day Dessert for the Dysphagia Patient: Chocolate Pie

This is one of the Deconstructed Desserts recipes that Essential Puree is famous for. In other words, this is a straight to puree recipe. You do not have to make the pie. 826989461_81ba7f6b72_oQuickie Version: The pudding in this recipe is from scratch, but I give a substitute pudding mix, in case you are time-challenged. Same with the whipped cream topping and the crumble instead of crust. We are all about making it work here at EP.

One of the aides who helped me take care of my mom was Amanda, a Southern woman with deep roots in Tennessee. Every year at Christmas she used to make chocolate pie at her house and bring it over to my mom’s house. It was a big production at her house. She made four pies every year for her family gathering, and she made one for our house.

My mom loved Amanda (she called her Little Bit) and she loved this chocolate pie, but Amanda would not give up the recipe. I tried many inducements to get the recipe. She would not budge. She said it was a family secret, and the only person who would get it was her daughter. Amanda said she would not give it up on pain of death, but this is a classic recipe in the South.

I experimented with Southern cookbooks, and I tried four different recipes until I got the flavor. I don’t know if this is Amanda’s recipe, because I suspect Amanda uses boxed pudding mix, but I could be wrong. Amanda has been a little bit lax in keeping up with me, so I am including my take on her recipe as a tribute to Amanda, for taking great care of my mom. Long live the late, great Cathie G.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Pudding

  • 1 1⁄4 cups stevia
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch (or kuzu root or arrowroot) as a thickener
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1⁄2 cups milk
  • 1 1⁄4 cups coconut milk
  • 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Make the Custard

In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk sweetener, thickener, cocoa powder, salt, and eggs until smooth; stir in milk and coconut milk.

Cook over medium until thickened, 10–12 minutes.

Stir in chocolate until melted, then pour into bowl and top with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill well.

Note: If you are time-challenged and do not want to make the pudding from scratch, an excellent substitute is Organics Chocolate Pudding and Pie filling mix, made according to the package directions. This gives instructions for an extra smooth creamy pudding. This is a product of the European Gourmet Bakery. They also make butterscotch, vanilla, banana and lemon. A go-to ingredient for the Essential Puree dessert pantry.

Crumble in Lieu of Crust

Here for the first time, I introduce a crumble instead of a crust. . You don’t need a pie crust for the puree and the crumble gives excellent flavor. This is something you might use on top of a cobbler.

  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 3⁄4 cup masa harina
  • 1⁄4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

Heat oven to 300°. Combine agave, flour, cornmeal, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined; add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 30 minutes. Do not let this dry out or get too crisp, or it will make a grainy or a scratchy puree that is difficult for the swallow. Break it up, then cool.

Whipped Topping

The classic topping for this pie is homemade whipped cream. This purees very nicely. It is OK to use store bought whipped topping. I use the So Delicious Brand called Coco Whip Coconut whipped topping, available at supermarkets, when I do not want to make my own whipped cream and I am pressed for time. This is a high quality go-to convenience food with no trans-fats, which is why I selected it. It tastes divine. Heavenly. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

For the Puree

You use a half cup of the pudding, a half cup of the whipped topping, and a quarter cup of cornbread. Or less, depending on your taste buds.

Pulse the crumble or the cornbread in the bowl of the food processor until it is very fine.

Add the half cup of whipped topping or whipped cream and fold into a half cup of the pudding gently until you loosen up the pudding. Then add the pudding/topping mixture to the bowl of the processor and pulse a few times to combine into a smooth puree. Do not over-process this pie.

Once the cornbread is smoothly pureed, you can add the pudding and the whipped topping and blend by hand. The machine is too strong for a delicate dessert. Whipped topping will lighten up the pudding.

As this is a Valentine’s Day recipe, for the classic combination of cherries and chocolate, when serving this pie, have a little saucer of cherry fruit spread, smooth variety, and dip each bite into the cherry spread. Some good brands are: Bionature, Fiordifrutta, and Field Day. Raspberry spread works too!

Note: My cornbread recipe from the EP Guidebook works really well for this. You use a biscuit cutter, two inch size, to cut out a round of the cornbread about one half inch thick. You can also use a very short shortbread that will puree smoothly, Walkers brand. To make sure there is no graininess, you can add a drop of vegetable oil or room temperature unsalted butter to the puree.

This pudding consistency puree should be free of any grains or crumbs. If it has grains or crumbs, put it through a mesh sieve and scrape it through with a silicone spatula. With proper technique, you can achieve a smooth texture.

Check with your healthcare provider to make sure you are cleared for chocolate pie. When all three elements are combined, this freezes very nicely for two weeks. Thaw in the fridge for service and stir to combine if necessary. Add the cherry topper after the thaw.

Swirl Away!

Image courtesy of Rexipe via Flickr CC