Kathleen King of Tate’s Bake Shop shares secrets for making a healthy chocolate pie

A chilled chocolate pie is a great fit for the summer dessert table but it's not exactly the dessert-of-choice for the average dieter. If you're watching your weight or just want to eat healthier this season, you can make a healthier version of the classic chocolate pie - without compromising on taste. I talked to Kathleen King of Tate's Bake Shop in The Hamptons to find out her secret to making a healthy chocolate pie. She perfected her chocolate pie recipe for the American Heart Association's Healthy Heart Bake-Off contest and took first place for her amazing recipe.

In this interview, Kathleen shares her tips for making bakery-style pies that are lower in fat and calories than traditional recipes. Don't miss the video demo of her making her award-winning Heart Healthy Chocolate Pie (recipe follows):

Q: What inspired you to make a healthier version of the classic chocolate pie recipe?

K: "I created this recipe for the American Heart Association's Healthy Heart Bake-Off contest. I had to make something that was heart-healthy so I modified it with tofu and cream cheese -- the topping is made with yogurt but tastes like real whipped cream! My version can be baked or refrigerated."

Q: What are three tips for making a healthier, bakery-style pie at home?

K: "1) Go gluten-free by making the crust out of ground nuts, dried raisins, and pecans. You can put these in a food processor and press the mixture into a pie plate to make the 'crust'.

2) Sweeten the pie with maple syrup or agave syrup instead of regular sugar.

3) When making a fruit pie, use half-cooked fruit with cornstarch and sugar, instead of just plain fruit. The half-cooked fruit intensifies the flavor."

Q: What's the best substitute for whipped cream in spring and summer desserts?

K: "I make a homemade whipped cream with ½ whipping cream and ½ yogurt. It still has the same texture but much less fat and calories. And, it still gives you the same joy level!"

Q: In addition to the Heart Healthy Chocolate Pie, what other "light" desserts would you recommend for the warmer months?

K: "I like to make a lemon meringue pie during the summer months, but that can still be high in sugar. Another favorite is open-faced pies with fresh fruit and sugar. These pies can be baked without a top and served with light whipped cream. Rhubarb Brown Betty is very popular here on the East Coast during the summer. A strawberry pie made with fresh strawberries, cornstarch, and sugar is also a good choice!"

Q: Does your new recipe book "Baking For Friends" (Fall 2012) include some healthy dessert ideas?

K: "Yes, it has recipes for gluten-free desserts as well as a recipe for my Banana Flaxseed Muffin, the popular Breakfast Cookie, and my Blueberry Lemon Scone which that can also be a healthier choice."

Kathleen King's Heart Healthy Chocolate Pie Recipe

For step-by-step directions to make the refrigerated version, watch Kathleen's demo for this pie here. You can serve this with the whipped topping recipe provided below, as well as with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries.

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

2 cups low-fat graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons almond butter

¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the Filling:

8 ounces low-fat cream cheese

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

8 ounces silken tofu

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 ounces dark chocolate, melted

2 egg whites

For the Topping:

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt

1/3 cup fruit sweetened raspberry jam, seedless

2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 pint fresh raspberries (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the crust: In a food processor, grind the graham crackers. Add almond butter, melted butter, and maple syrup. Process until the mixture comes together and the graham crackers are moist. Dump the crumbs in a 9-inch pie pan. Press into the pan, forming a crust, but don't press too hard or the crust will be very hard. Set aside or freeze for a later use.

Prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese with sugar until smooth or use a hand mixer. Add the tofu and vanilla. Mix until well-combined, scraping down the bowl and mixing again. While the mixer is running, add melted chocolate and beat until smooth and incorporated.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then spoon the mixture into the prepared crust. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool. The pie will appear wet in the middle, do not over bake! Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

For the topping: In a small bowl, whip the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the yogurt, vanilla, sugar, and raspberry jam. Whip until thickened. Spread evenly on top of pie. Top with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis.

Sources:

Interview with Kathleen King of Tate's Bake Shop