Thursday, November 11, 2010


That is, What Would Paula Deen do?
I've never been the biggest fan of Paula's food, if only because her food hinges on the fact that it's your down-home Southern cookin' with no g. And cookin' includes copious amounts of butter, eggs, lard, cheese, cream, and anything else that's probably terrible for you, obviously not vegan/vegetarian, and delicious enough that suddenly selling your soul for that last piece of pie doesn't seem like such a horrible trade off. To whit, my grandfather is convinced Paula Deen is trying to personally kill him in a slow, methodical manner with her delicious down home cookin'. This might be true for all of us, but at least the road to our deaths will be littered with apple fritters, cheesy casseroles, and deep-fried everything you could ever want! Woooo!

Anyway my rant about Paula Deen has everything to do with the weather. With the first coming of the brutally cold Chicago weather also comes my craving for all manners of comfort food. Chili has already been tackled once last week (with macaroni and cheese, of course), and I made gumbo with a mix my mom brought me from New Orleans that we paired with slabs of warm cornbread (from a box mix, IKNOWI'MATERRIBLEBAKER). I've been on a southern cuisine kick lately, or at least, I have been as much as a vegetarian can be.
I decided to make my friend Liz and myself a delicious Paula Deen-esqe vegan meal, because I love cooking for people. So I pulled on my new conversion apron (thanks grandma and grandpa!) and got to work. Enter my favorite vegan meal ever: Tofu Po' Boys. With Chile-cornmeal crusted tofu. And chipotle mayo. And pickles. And cole slaw. And a little dash of heaven.
Om nom mcnommersons.
Liz made a big bowl of buttery mashed potatoes, I steamed heaping piles of broccoli (which we topped with earth balance and lemon pepper...yum yum yum) and then there was the piece de resistance...

If Paula Dean were a vegan, this would be her pie. Graham cracker crust, decadent chocolate filling, peanut-butter caramel topping, maple pecans, and chocolate drizzle. So rich you can't take more than two bites at a time. Literally no one finished a slice, not because we were full or because it wasn't good, but because it was so rich. Just like a true southern-style pie should be for us lily-white northern Yanks. Just kidding.
Best part? Maple pecans. I was poppin' those bad boys all afternoon. Mmm Mmmm. The peanut butter caramel was pretty tasty too.
Worst part? I would say toss-up between filling and crust. Neither were particularly bad, but the crust could have been thicker (maybe use more graham crackers next time) and the filling was It was delicious, of course, and simple to make...but I will probably never make this pie again because of that filling, unless someone specifically requests it.
Overall it was a good pie, but not really my kind of pie. I will keep it my my arsenal should I need a pie to bake for a vegan chocolate fiend, but otherwise we probs won't be seeing this pie again.


12 graham crackers or 1 3/4 C. Graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C. oil
1 T. soy mik

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10-inch pie pan. Pulse the crackers in a food processor/blender if needed. Trickle in the oil and stir with a fork till the crumbs are moist. Do the same for the soy milk. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pie pan. Set aside.

1 lb. silken tofu
1/4 C. soy milk
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. arrowroot
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted in a double-boiler

Blend tofu in blender/food processor. Add the milk, vanilla and arrowroot. Add the melted chocolate and blend again. Pour the mixture in the pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes.
Pie pre-cooling: An expansive ocean of pudding-y chocolate.
It's okay if the pie is still a little jiggly in the middle, but it should be mostly firmed up and a few shades darker.
Pop in the fridge for 3 hours.

1 C. pecans
2 t. oil
1/8 t. salt
2 T maple syrup

Toast the pecans for 3 minutes stirring frequently until brown. Toast another 2 minutes, then add the oil and salt, cooking for another minute. Add the maple syrup and cook for another minute; the syrup should be dry and sticky and crystallized on the pecans. Put the pecans on tin foil, trying to keep them from touching, and cool.

When the pie and pecans are cool, pull them out of the fridge and assemble the rest of the pie:

1/3 natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky), at room temp
3 T. maple syrup
2 T. brown ride syrup.

Heat the peanut butter in a small saucepan. Add the syrups. If the mixture seems too thick add a little more brown rice syrup. Pour the mix over the pie. Stick the pecans in the caramel. I arranged mine in cocentric circles.

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/4 C. soy milk

Heat soy milk in a small pan. Add chocolate and stir till melted.
You can sprinkle it on with a spoon or put the mix in a pastry bag and pipe on. You might want to wait till the mixture is a little cooler, because for some reason Liz and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to pour the hot mixture straight from the pan into the pastry bag. It lasted like ten seconds before Liz realized that the chocolate mixture was, indeed, boiling hot, and dropped the pastry bag onto her plate of Po' Boy remnants.
Despite this small setback, overall, the pie was a success.
More soon, my friends.


  1. Maybe if you served veeeeery thin slices with some sliced banana to lighten things up? Also I wants that apron now. It's officially on the registry.

  2. Ooooo good call! That sounds pretty delicious. I'll have to try it that way next time.

  3. Oh yes, these are sinful treats indeed, but they look absolutely delicious! Great job!!