A Vegan Superchef Shares Her To-Die-For Chocolate Pie Recipe

We don't toss around the term "Renaissance woman" lightly around here, but Mérida Anderson certainly qualifies. A photographer, artist, designer, and musician, she's also a serious (and self-taught) vegan chef. Known for running a pop-up dining club, Vegan Secret Supper, in Vancouver, Montréal, and New York City, she's now pouring her expertise into a new cookbook.
Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus From A Rogue Kitchen is a collection of plant-based recipes — think fresh and gourmet vegan dishes, not mock-meat pizzas. "There are so many vegetables and varieties that each season I still can find something I have never cooked with before," Anderson says. "There is always something new to try. And, most times, vegetables don't even need much work to taste amazing."
If the thought of cooking vegan seems overwhelming, it doesn't need to be that way — trust. Anderson is proving it by sharing her kitchen essentials and a seriously to-die-for vegan dessert. (Four words: Ancho. Chocolate. Truffle. Pie.) Get ready to be inspired to cook!
Photo: Courtesy of Danny Rico
"Cooking solely plant-based meals can definitely require more attention then a meat-based meal where the meat is the focus, and the vegetable never leads the dish," Anderson says. "Vegetable dishes are gentler and more delicate, though that's not to say that you cannot make an amazingly flavorful and beautiful meal using only vegetables." Here, some of the essential items she recommends for cooking phenomenal vegan meals:
Fresh citrus
"Lemons and limes are great to have around to brighten dishes just before serving and can help cut down on salt."
"I always have a multitude of sweeteners such as maple. For example, I would use maple in warmer desserts, chocolate and caramel-based desserts."
The right tools
"I think the best appliance a vegetarian or vegan can have is a food processor. It's great for dips, spreads, and dessert prep. And, you need a nice sharp knife, as there is always chopping to be done!"
Fresh herbs
"Fresh herbs are great, if you have an herb garden. I like thyme and rosemary for roasting vegetables, and I sneak fresh cilantro into most everything."
Nutritional yeast
"Nutritional yeast is a must for vegans for adding vitamins and a "cheesy" taste to foods."
Pantry essentials
"Tamari, and different vinegars (like balsamic and rice) are great as well."
Ready to get cooking? Read on for Anderson's ancho chocolate truffle pie recipe.
Photo: Courtesy of Arsenal Pulp Press
ancho chocolate truffle pie 2
Ancho Chocolate Truffle Pie With Sea Salt
Makes 8-12 servings.
⅓ cup (80 mL) coconut oil
4 oz (115 g) chopped chocolate
1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews, soaked in 2 cups water overnight and drained 1 14-oz (398-mL) can coconut milk
⅔ cup (160 mL) cocoa powder
¾ cup (185 mL) maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
¼–½ tsp ancho or cayenne pepper, to taste
½ tsp salt
1 recipe Nut Crust (below); use chocolate and walnuts
In a double boiler on medium heat, melt coconut oil and chocolate, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, blend remainder of filling ingredients until smooth. While blender is running, slowly pour in melted oil- chocolate mixture and blend until smooth. Pour into 10-in (25-cm) springform pan with pre-baked Nut Crust and chill overnight.
Nut Crust
Makes one 10-in (25-cm) crust.
1 cup (250 mL) nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts), ground
¾ cup (185 mL) spelt flour (for gluten-free: ¾ cup rice flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch)
1 tsp cocoa powder (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon, or 1 tsp fine ground coffee + 1 tsp vanilla extract)
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp flavored extract, optional (almond, vanilla, orange, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). In a bowl, combine nuts with dry ingredients and make a well. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined. Use your hands, as needed, at the end to combine ingredients. Press into a pie plate or 10-in (25-cm) springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Photo: Courtesy of Arsenal Pulp Press

More from Food & Drinks

Leaving your pet in the care of someone else is always a nerve-wracking situation, but if you leave them with Chase Stout, rest assured they're in safe ...
Do NOT come between the internet and its love for fall-inspired pumpkin treats, or everyone will go nuts. Grub Street reports that after some ...
In addition to your typical candy staples, you may want to stock up on the newest flavor of Doritos this Halloween. During the month of October in Japan...
DIY cotton candy ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker? Winning
Big-batch punches are sophisticated, fun, and most importantly, easy for group gatherings (especially when spiked with your favorite alcohol). There also ...
If you've been waiting patiently for almond milk to arrive at your local Starbucks, the dairy alternative is finally here. Beginning tomorrow, September ...
Oh, Target. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Amazing designer collaborations, affordable and adorable home buys, deals and steals on great ...
(Paid Content) Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Yawn. Standard-issue pancakes? Predictable. To effectively get us out of bed in the a.m., we prefer a morning ...
Coffee has seen us through a lot of tough times. Those all-nighters in college, work deadlines, and hangovers from hell — we couldn't have made it to the...
The fall food scene tends to be dominated by pumpkin spice and apple-picking. But let's not forget Halloween — a holiday that, at its caramel-apple core, ...
When ex-teen Rachel Gelmis was drug tested, she knew she was clean. But the test thought differently. Her results were, like, insanely positive for a lot ...
It's no secret that food is one of the best categories for nostalgia. Who doesn't wax poetic about snack foods like Dunkaroos? But not all of our favorite...
If you've got a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, chances are it's your go-to supermarket. It's cheap, convenient, and the snacks are unbeatable. It ...
This no-bake confetti fudge takes minutes to put together and will satisfy any sweet tooth