Monday, March 19, 2012

Makeover Monday: Low Fat Silky Chocolate Pie

I've featured a few "secret ingredient" recipes on Makeover Monday so far.  I started with using pumpkin to boost the creaminess in my Skinny Potato Soup, and I also lightened up mashed potatoes by swapping some of the spuds for cauliflower in my Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  Today I'm doing dessert.  Chocolate pie without the guilt?  Yes please!

This was not my idea.  I found this recipe (and a whole bunch more I really, really want to try!) in an issue of Diabetic Living magazine that featured diabetes-friendly chocolate dessert.  When I saw this issue I felt like I had won the lottery!  I now have quite the arsenal of better-for-me, sweet-tooth-satisfying desserts that are tested and proven, and I didn't even have to pull a brain muscle coming up with them.  And they're all chocolatey.  I guess good things do happen to good people!

Even though this recipe had been tested and proven, I was a little suspicious.  No, it doesn't feature vegetables.  The secret ingredient in this pie is fat free yogurt.  Okay, it's not a huge stretch, but I never would have thought of it!  If you've never had plain yogurt before, it has a bit of a tangy flavor.  This pie is not super sweet, and has a hint of the tang from the yogurt.  The magazine forewarned me about this, and I was a little nervous to try it, but it was actually really yummy!  

The chocolate used is semi-sweet so you get the yogurt's tang and the chocolate's sweetness all in one.  What I think was really fantastic about this pie was how thick and creamy it was.  Sometimes recipes that call for low fat dairy can end up watery, thin, and downright wimpy.  This was not one of those recipes!  How so?  For this recipe, you can use either plain yogurt, or an unflavored Greek yogurt.  If you are using plain yogurt, the first step in the recipe calls for making a "yogurt cheese" where you remove the excess fluid from the yogurt.  Greek yogurt is already thicker than regular yogurt so the first step isn't needed if using Greek yogurt.  This would be helpful if you don't have the 24 hours needed to make the yogurt cheese out of the plain yogurt.  
Other than the time needed to make the yogurt cheese if you go that route, and needing at least 3 hours to chill, actually making this pie was really quick and easy!  The original recipe called for using a store-bought low fat graham cracker pie crust.  I decided to make my own, which also slightly increased the time this recipe took.  I was going to buy some graham crackers to make the crust, but I instead decided to make my own graham cracker crust completely from scratch.  All I did was prepare the recipe for my whole wheat honey graham crackers, and I spread about 3/4 (that's my guess!) of the dough along the bottom and sides of my pie plate.  The rest of the dough I just rolled out to make a few graham crackers.  I baked the crust at 350 for about 15 minutes.  I wasn't sure if making a graham cracker crust out of actual graham cracker dough would work out, but it did.  It was whole grain, and delicious!
If you do this, just know that the dough puffs up some when you bake it, but it comes back down after it cools.  I made my dough layer pretty thin.  If you are going to make your own crust (come on, try it!) do that first and let it cool while you make the pie.
If you are using plain yogurt, 24 hours before you prepare the rest of the pie, line a strainer or colander with cheese cloth or a coffee filter.  I used a coffee filter.  Place it over a large bowl, and put in the yogurt.  I was skeptical about this actually working, but I was surprised how much liquid I actually got out.  The recipe directions explain that you should avoid yogurt with gums, gelatin, or fillers or this won't work.  The yogurt I used had pectin which worried me, but it turned out fine!  Remember that you can skip this by using Greek yogurt (and you don't have to buy as much!)
Here's how the yogurt looked after 24 hours chilling in the refrigerator.  That's some serious fluid loss!
Now, onto actually making the pie filling.  Start out by sprinkling an envelope of unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup of fat free milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  It will thicken up some during this time.
Then heat the milk over low heat just until the gelatin is dissolved.
Now stir in 4 ounces of reduced fat cream cheese until it's smooth.
Time for chocolate! 
Stir it in until it's melted.
Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in a little bit of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of Splenda.  Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.  Sneak a taste.
After your chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, add the prepared yogurt cheese or the Greek yogurt, stirring it until it's well combined.
Then just spoon it into your graham cracker crust and refrigerate it for 3-24 hours.
I topped mine with a little bit of light whipped topping and added some chopped dark chocolate as a garnish.  Pretty!  The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate was great with the tangy pie.
I promise that if you served this pie to a roomful of people who didn't know any better, not one of them would think this pie was low fat.  It is that thick and delicious.  Don't believe me?  I guess you will have to try for yourself!

Low Fat Silky Chocolate Pie
4 cups plain fat free yogurt* or 2 cups plain fat free Greek yogurt
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup skim milk
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese or Neufchatel, softened
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 graham cracker pie shell (you can make your own using whole wheat honey graham cracker dough, spread over pie pan, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes)
If using plain yogurt (skip this step if using Greek yogurt): Line a fine mesh strainer, sieve, or small colander with three layers of 100% cotton cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter.  Suspend lined strainer over a large bowl.  Spoon yogurt into the strainer.  cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 24 hours.  Remove from refrigerator.  Discard liquid.  You should have about 2 cups of yogurt cheese.  Set aside. 
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat and stir milk mixture over low heat just until gelatin is dissolved.  Gradually whisk in cream cheese until melted.  Stir in chocolate until melted.  
Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar and vanilla.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl; cool 15 minutes.
Stir about 1/4 of the yogurt cheese or Greek yogurt into the chocolate mixture until smooth.  Fold in the remaining yogurt cheese or Greek yogurt.  Spread mixture evenly into pie shell.
Cover pie loosely and chill in the refrigerator 3-24 hours before serving.  Cut into wedges and serve.  If desired, top each serving with lite whipped topping.
* Use a brand of yogurt that contains no gums, gelatin, or fillers.  These ingredients may prevent the whey from separating from the curd to make yogurt cheese.

Recipe from Diabetic Living

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