French Silk PieI'm in love with this French Silk Pie's mousse-like filling of luscious, creamy, rich chocolate. And what's better than a chocolate cookie crust? OK, rich, mousse-y filling and cookie crust in a pie that's good for your heart and your waistline.
So I can't say that I'm surprised by this comment on our website from a reader in Illinois: "It was delicious! I made it for a family party and no one knew it was 'good' for them. Everyone raved about it and asked me to make it again."
I'm thrilled to hear things like that because it means that this decadent chocolate dessert has passed the ultimate test of a successful recipe makeover-this pie tastes just as good as a traditional version and no one can tell it's healthier.
The filling for French Silk Pie is typically made with heavy cream, butter, whole eggs, sugar and plenty of chocolate. Yes, that sounds delicious, but trust me, this healthy recipe tastes just as amazing and has a fraction of the calories and saturated fat.
French Silk Pie
30 chocolate wafers (see Makeover Tip)
2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
8 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, divided
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dried egg whites (see Ingredient Note), reconstituted according to package directions
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
2. To prepare crust: Combine chocolate wafers and dates in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add water and oil and process until moistened. Press into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.
3. Bake the crust until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
4. To prepare filling & garnish: Combine coffee and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin on top and set aside to soften.
5. Whisk egg, milk, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan until smooth. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add the reserved gelatin mixture; stir until dissolved. Add chocolate and vanilla, stirring until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
6. Beat reconstituted egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 5 tablespoons brown sugar, beating until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
7. Whisk one-fourth of the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue and fold in with a whisk. Spoon the filling into the crust and chill, uncovered, until set, about 3 hours.
Makes 10 servings.
Per serving: 172 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 22 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 88 mg sodium; 106 mg potassium.
Makeover tip: Many commercial cookies and wafers contain partially hydrogenated oil, a source of trans-fatty acids. Look for brands made without these oils, such as Newman's Own Organics and Mi-Del, which fortunately are every bit as tasty. Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets.
Ingredient note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized-a wise choice when making meringue toppings that may not reach 160°F (the temperature at which eggs are considered "safe"). You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets. Reconstitute according to package directions.
Here are some of our tricks to making it healthy:
- Omit the butter and heavy cream in the filling
- Use low-fat milk
- Reduce the amount of chocolate and substitute some cocoa powder instead
- Make a meringue with egg whites and fold this into the filling
- Use gelatin to give the filling a rich, creamy texture
- Add a splash of fresh brewed coffee to boost the rich flavor of the filling
- Skip the butter in the cookie crust and instead bind it together with chopped dates, water and a bit of canola oil
And one more trick: when you're trying to keep this pie healthy look for chocolate cookies without any partially hydrogenated oils in them. Newman's Own and Mi Del brands both make chocolate cookies without trans fats. You can find both brands in large supermarkets.
Hope you enjoy the pie and check back on EatingWell.com to let us know how you like it.
By Jessie Price
EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.
Related Links from EatingWell:
- Find healthy recipes in over 100 recipe collections-from chicken to Chinese to cake-at eatingwell.com.
- Find recipes for more of your favorite naughty foods made nice in EatingWell's new book, Comfort Foods Made Healthy.
- Sign up for EatingWell's free weekly newsletters and get healthy recipes, diet tips and nutrition news delivered right to your inbox.
- Get a free trial issue when you subscribe to EatingWell Magazine.