10:30 AM September 24, 2022
“Guess the secret ingredient, go on,” I loomed over my son and his mates, who’d just had a dish of biscuit-rimmed chocolate pie shoved under their noses.
“Go on, guess!”
Naturally they were all suspicious. Had I spiked it with chilli…or worse, broccoli (who can forget the haunting flavour of Iceland’s chocolate vegetables of yesteryear)?
It looked, of course, like a ‘normal’ pie. They were utterly stumped, egging one another on with increasingly disgusting suggestions, until my daughter walked in. “Oh nice one mum, have you made that sweet potato chocolate thing again?”
Element of surprise. Gone.
Sweet potato in baking isn’t a new thing of course. In the States, a pie of the veg, mashed and slumped with melting marshmallow (a combination even I can’t get my head around) is a common side at Thanksgiving.
Then there are the other good things concealing vegetables. Spice-scented pumpkin pie. Citrussy courgette cake. Carrot cake, smooshed together with cream cheese.
This pie (usually made as a brownie without the crust) is a mainstay in my house. Originally made for a family member who suddenly went vegan and refined sugar-free, it’s proved a huge hit…and one my kids ask for time and time again.
You really can’t taste the potato. Nope, underneath a slightly crisp crust is an almost melting, dense, fudgy filling that screams of chocolate. Served with a dollop of ice cream (try vegan-friendly Booja Booja) it is absolute heaven.
A few notes. Firstly, you can make this as brownies. Just spoon into a lined 20cm square baking tin without the biscuit base and cook as the recipe instructs.
Secondly, the ingredients can be costly if you don’t have them in the cupboard, but you can make substitutions without harming the outcome. Ground almonds can be replaced by plain white flour or even ground oats. If you’re not vegan, you can replace maple syrup with honey, and the peanut butter can be any nut butter you have to hand – or even a blend. You’ll want to make it over and over again.
Fudgy vegan chocolate pie
(makes one 20cm round pie)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1.5 cups worth)
150g peanut butter
25g ground almonds
25g cocoa powder
100ml maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp coffee granules
100g dark chocolate chips – dairy free if you are vegan
For the base
250g digestive biscuits, crushed finely
150g melted vegan butter (or regular unsalted butter)
Combine the biscuits and butter and press into a 20cm pie tin, making an edge all the way around the sides. Pop in the fridge.
Place the sweet potatoes in a steamer and cook until very tender. Mash until smooth and allow to cool.
Combine the mashed sweet potatoes with the peanut butter, almonds, cocoa, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, coffee and salt.
Once well mixed, add the chocolate chips and stir.
Spoon into your base evenly, and bake at 175C for 25 minutes.
Serve with ice cream or it’s nice with whipped coconut cream. Make this by chilling a tin of coconut milk overnight. Skim off the thick top and whisk with sugar. Save the coconut water for smoothies and cocktails.