Yes, there is tofu in this pie.
No, you can’t taste it.
I mean that. I’ve been duped by recipes before. Baked “donuts” made in donut pans don’t taste like donuts; they taste like muffins. Donut-shaped muffins. I once followed a recipe for a chickpea dip that’s supposed to taste like chocolate chip cookie dough. And it tasted like… sugary chickpeas. Some recipes are just lies. I’ve learned to be skeptical.
But this recipe came from Alton Brown, whom I generally trust. And I was right to. You seriously cannot taste the tofu here. Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you put in it. In this case it’s chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
The silken tofu gives the pie a creamy texture, and the vanilla and Kahlua really enhance the chocolate flavor. I love this pie. I’ve made it countless times. Once I made it for the sheer purpose of proving someone wrong. I’d mentioned this pie to someone before and she didn’t believe you couldn’t taste the tofu. Like me, she’d been burned by recipe lies before. So, several months later when Thanksgiving came around, I made the pie. And I didn’t tell her it was the pie.
Halfway through her slice of pie, she told me it was delicious and asked what was in it (I’m not embellishing here–she actually asked. I’d been ready to casually bring the conversation to my pie and its mystery ingredient, but she beautifully set me up for this by outright asking). I told her she was eating tofu and she was amazed. Most importantly, I was proven right. Vindication is a glorious thing.
This pie is so chocolatey that it’s a little too rich for me. Some whipped cream on the side to cut the richness definitely helps. But I’ve found that reducing the amount of chocolate slightly makes the pie the perfect combination of indulgent but not overwhelmingly rich.
The tofu you use is important. For this I use silken tofu, the nonrefrigerated kind that can be found on a shelf in the international aisle of grocery stores (Mori-Nu is a common brand). I’m not sure why, but something about the shelf-stability of it makes it taste like nothing at all, making it a perfect vehicle for absorbing chocolatey goodness. The silken tofu you find in the refrigerated section, however, has more of a tofu taste. Maybe it has something to do with freshness? I couldn’t tell you.
But if all you can find is the refrigerated kind, that’s okay. I have used refrigerated silken tofu for this before and it came out fine–I just had to use the original amount of chocolate (13 ounces instead of 12) to make up for it. So keep that in mind as you make this.
The original recipe requires 1/3 cup of Kahlua, but I’ve reduced it down to two tablespoons because that’s all I ever use. I hate the taste of alcohol and something about Kahlua’s sweet, syrupy flavor is too much for me, so just one or two tablespoons works for me. Or sometimes I don’t use it at all and instead add some instant coffee dissolved in a couple of tablespoons of hot water.
Something the recipe doesn’t warn you about is seizing. As we all know, melted chocolate seizes if it even thinks about water. And this recipe has us adding silken tofu–a wet thing–to melted chocolate. I have had this seize up on me before, but don’t worry if it happens. I just kept blending it. After a few minutes the blender sorted it all out and the mixture was back to being smooth and creamy.
Another note: Alton’s cookie crust recipe is very specific, calling for chocolate wafers–by which he means actual chocolate wafer cookies without a cream filling–rather than Oreos. Understand that his crust recipe is built for chocolate wafers and nothing else. I once shrugged and substituted the wafers for Oreos, and the cream filling made the mixture too moist and the crust ended up melting into a flat cookie in the seven minutes it spent in the oven, leaving me to walk to the corner shop at 9pm on Thanksgiving eve for more Oreos. Since then, I’ve opted to use a crust recipe built for Oreos. I’ve provided one below.
Again, don’t let the tofu scare you. I’ve made French silk pie too (the kind of chocolate pie made with copious amounts of chocolate, butter, eggs) and I prefer this tofu one. It has a rich, chocolate flavor and a creamier texture. This recipe is also easy to make vegan, if you use vegan chocolate chips, use maple syrup instead of honey (maple syrup is my preference anyway), and make the Oreo crust with vegan butter.
Vegan or not, anyone who likes chocolate will more than likely love this recipe. And if they’re skeptical of tofu pie and you happen to win them over, that’s just a bonus.
Adapted from Alton Brown
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 12 to 13 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I use 12 ounces if I’m making this with shelf-stable tofu, or 13 ounces if I’m making this with refrigerated tofu)
- 1 to 2 tbsp coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (feel free to use up to 1/3 cup if you prefer a stronger Kahlua taste) (alternatively, you can use coffee instead of Kahlua)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pound silken tofu, drained (preferably shelf-stable silken tofu like Mori-Nu; refrigerated tofu is fine, but be sure to up the chocolate to 13 ounces if using refrigerated tofu)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 9-inch chocolate crust (recipe below)
Place the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring the bowl between intervals, until the chocolate chips are melted (if the chocolate chips are nearly melted, reduce the microwave intervals to 15 seconds until they are fully melted). (Look, the source recipe says to melt the chocolate using a double-boiler, but the microwave is so much easier. If you’d rather melt the chocolate using a double-boiler, here are some instructions you can follow for that approach.)
Combine the melted chocolate, coffee liqueur, vanilla, silken tofu, and maple syrup in a blender or food processor and combine until completely smooth (about one minute). You may need to stop and scrape the sides down to ensure everything is completely incorporated. If the chocolate seizes (as in, gets all weird and grainy from reacting to the water in the tofu), just keep blending. It should smooth itself out after another minute or two.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared Oreo crust (recipe below, or you can use a store bought Oreo crust). To ensure the filling is set, refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
- 24 whole Oreos
- 5 tbsp melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use a food processor or blender to grind the Oreos into fine crumbs (alternatively, you can throw the Oreos in a Ziploc bag and whack them with a rolling pin–the food processor method is just easier). Place the Oreo crumbs in a bowl and add the melted butter; stir to combine until all the Oreo crumbs are evenly coated.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan with butter or baking spray and pour the Oreo crumb mixture into the pie pan. Press the crumbs into the pan and along the sides into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the chocolate pie filling.