I'm pretty darn partial to chocolate. Between all the cakes, brownies, protein bars, cookies, chia, chocolates, spreads, smoothies, nice cream and all, you'd think that covers all chocolate bases, and yet I keep coming up with more chocolatey ideas... Sort of similar to my little chocolate drawer situation -- no matter how full it is, I always manage to haul new chocolate bars home when I come across them. Does it matter that I've got three different kinds of orange flavored bars in there? Nope. Does it matter that I've got my own homemade chocolate in the fridge? Not one bit. Doesn't stop me from wondering what the next bar will taste like... So that brings me to this no-bake vegan French Silk Pie... a new and rather necessary addition to the chocolate category on the recipes page.
When I was a teen a friend gifted me a fridge magnet with a rather corny saying on it: "There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate" -- despite the cliche, I'm kinda feeling a strong need to be the good friend with chocolate here, and share some of this pie with you -- at least in recipe form :). When I first made it I just couldn't get over how good it was. I have a pretty good feeling that you'll love it too, if you're a chocolate-loving kind of person.
So what makes it so good? Um, well it's probably the smoothest, fluffiest, moussiest, silkiest, velvetiest, creamiest, chocolatiest, dreamiest melt-in-your-mouth chocolate pie I've had. Probably EVER. And what makes it French? Truthfully, I had absolutely no idea when I first made it! All I knew was that a friend who's been working in a posh bakery told me that French Silk Pie was the biggest seller there, and she's been pestering me to make some for years. Well, I'm glad I finally came around to giving it a go. Friends, I now see what all the rage has been about. This is a chocolate-lovers chocolate dessert.
I've since looked up a little more about the history of this dessert. Turns out this "French" treat is actually an all American invention. The predominant word on the street is that it was an award winning creation in a Pillsbury bake-off (1951) by a lady named Betty Cooper. The name appears to have to do more with the silky and luxurious texture of the pie, than with France. Well, Mrs. Cooper, I tip my hat to you -- it's certainly one lovely dessert concept!
When I set off to work on creating this recipe I relied solely on the description of the texture and pie filling flavors my friend provided me with, adapting the concept to make a no-bake, gluten-free, and vegan French Silk Pie. I also purposefully skipped a classic component of this treat: the whip topping and chocolate shavings. This pie is traditionally served with a layer of whip cream and some chocolate shavings, but I decided to skip that part. Instead I just added a white swirl using some dairy-free yogurt. I felt the cake had enough flavor and a beautiful texture to stand on its own. Feel free to add some coconut whip if you're feeling more traditional though.
Interestingly, I have an old "nutella" cream pie recipe on the blog, featuring a layer of chocolate and a layer of cream, yet the two are worlds apart. Though I love the old pie very much, there really is something magical about this new silken version.
A few things I'm quite happy about with this creation: it's not only gluten-free, vegan (hence dairy-free and egg-free), and refined sugar-free, but it's also nut-free (optional), coconut-free, and grain-free. That's a lot of things crossed off the regular "Can It Be Made Without.." list! And it's a no-bake cake that can be ready in just over an hour, start to finish. It's a super no-fuss treat (just see Janel's video of her making it down below -- it's a breeze!).
Another thing I quite like is that it's a fridge cake, and not a freezer cake, which makes the texture velvety and creamy straight away. I love my freezer cakes very much, but sometimes you just want something a little different, ya know?
The best part is that this cake tastes super luxurious and rich, but it's actually lightened up quite a bit by the tofu (compared to a nut-based cake of this sort). I don't do soy very often on the blog because I know a lot of people are quite sensitive, but in this cake it's just purely magical -- an essential component.
Just a quick final note here before I let you dive into the pie: the firmness of the cake is entirely controlled by the cake's temperature. If you keep it frozen, it will last longer (so you can freeze some for later use), but it will also be firm so I recommend thawing it out a bit for a creamier, silky texture. Otherwise, keep it refrigerated and serve straight from the fridge for the best consistency. If it seems like it's a bit too soft, just chill it briefly in the freezer and it will firm right up. So long as it's not boiling hot where you are, it should hold up at room temp for a bit.
Vegan French Silk Pie
A smooth, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth vegan chocolate pie recipe topped with dairy-free yogurt or whip. Gluten-free & no-bake.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 7" pie
- Category: Pie
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1½ cups raw brazil nuts*
- 8 soft medjool dates, pitted
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp raw agave (or maple syrup)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 300gr / 10.5oz regular (or firm) tofu (make sure it's room temp and not cold)
- ⅔ cup chopped dairy-free dark chocolate of your choice, melted**
- ⅓ cup cacao powder
- ⅓ cup raw agave (or maple syrup***)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- just under ½ tsp salt
- just under ¼ tsp instant espresso powder (optional****)
- Process nuts, dates, and salt in a food processor into a fine crumble. Add agave and cacao powder and process to combine. Transfer into a 7" tart pan (or pie plate) and press into a crust along base and edges. Place in the freezer while working on the next step.
- Blend the tofu into a smooth consistency in a power blender. Add all remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour over prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to smooth the filling out.
- Optional: drizzle the yogurt over the cake using a cake decorating pen or pipping bag, create desired swirl pattern, sprinkle with any additional toppings. Freeze cake for 1 hour to set. Afterwards keep it refrigerated until serving. Enjoy!
*Use toasted pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.
**Can also use chocolate chips. I recommend using your favorite chocolate bar or something similar for best flavor.
***If substituting with maple syrup, keep in mind it's usually a bit sweeter than other liquid sweeteners, so you might want to start with a bit less and adjust the flavor to your liking.
****The espresso powder adds an incredible rich chocolate flavor to this pie.
*****A runnier yogurt works best (some dairy-free varieties can be a little dense).
******Double recipe for 9" pie
Keywords: Vegan French Silk Pie Recipe