Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recipe Review: De Laurentiis's Hazelnut and Chocolate Pie

I don't have the Food Network. I have the most basic of basic cable packages, and most of the time, I don't complain.
I don't think I really miss anything by not having the Food Network, anyway. What am I going to miss? Rachel Ray? Paula Dean? Pu-lease.
However, I do enjoy a few of the programs, and one of the first cooking programs that I really took to was Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis. I've made a few of her dishes over the years, mostly seafood, but I did make a spinach-ricotta ravioli one time made from eggroll wrappers. The wrappers are a great substitute if you don't have a pasta maker.
But now that I don't have the Food Network, I only catch De Laurentiis's show (or any others) if I am at the gym, of all places, where I finish up my workout with a spin on the elliptical machines -- and I always make sure I get one with a TV so that I can watch a food program. 
I am thoroughly disappointed if it's Ray or Dean. I groan audibly.
A couple days ago, I lucked out and saw the making of this chocolate pie. 
(Okay, so it doesn't look like much here, but I'm not really a photographer. Deal. Imagine the moist, chewy chocolate and the nutty hazelnut flavor. Imagine the unusual texture: somewhat dense, like a brownie, but a little more cake-like around the edge. And yet it's called a "pie." Don't talk; eat.)

See De Laurentiis's recipe here.

Ever since I did that macrobiotic cleanse this spring (lost weight, felt awesome), I've been trying to eat more of the foods I ate while cleansing and avoid those that I cut out. I've done a pretty good job (I'll have to publish more about macrobiotics and cleansing later) and have only gained back about a pound.
One of the things I really try to avoid eating is refined sugar. Refined flours, too. So, I decided I would not use sugar or white flour in the recipe above. I used agave nectar and whole wheat flour instead and it still came out great. 
Since agave is sweeter than regular sugar, I used less than 2/3 c. agave. Since it's also a liquid, I cut out the boiling water and melted the second batch of chocolate in the microwave instead. The quantities in this recipe are pretty easy to adjust.
The chocolate chips were made with evaporated cane juice -- which I believe is really just a fancy way to say "sugar" . . . but until they start making chips with agave or brown rice syrup, I just have to suck it up.
I am very pleased with the result . . . a little too pleased . . . I'm in danger of eating this entire thing myself! Refined sugar or no, eating an entire chocolate pie by oneself is not going to be good for the waistline. ;) So, into the freezer this pie is going to go! 
I think I'll bring it to my parents' house on Saturday to share with my sister, her husband and my niece and nephew and then "forget" to bring it home. That should take care of that . . . 

Here's a good link to a page about cooking with agave.

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