Black Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Option)

Remember when Seinfeld was all the rage, and people would stand around the office the next morning talking about the previous night’s episode? On those days when you’d missed the show, you were left standing there, smiling blankly as everyone else relived all the “Master of Your Domain” or “I like to say salsa,” or “No Soup for You!!” moments. Well, that’s sometimes how I feel during the holidays when I’m the only one at the party on a special diet.

You, too?

Particularly at this time of year, the internet abounds with articles on how to navigate the festive season when you eat gluten-free, or dairy-free, or vegan, or some other way that isn’t the norm. For instance, consuming something at home before you leave, informing the hostess/host in advance, focusing on the social aspects of the meal instead of the food—these are all great tips, and can certainly help to ensure that everyone enjoys the festivities in one way or another.

But the best trick of all, I’ve found, is to prepare something delicious and decadent that suits your own needs, then bring it to the party to share with everyone else there. That way, you are all able to partake of the dish together as part of the same crowd.

This dessert is one of my favorites to wow those who may not appreciate special diet needs. I first made it for the holidays last year when we had friends over for dinner, none of whom normally eats gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or vegan.  Everyone loved it, and all three men at the table took seconds.

The recipe does contain several parts, and you need a strong blender. However, the effort is worth it in the end, when you can share equally with everyone else at the table (not to mention revel in all their compliments on your dessert)!

What’s your go-to holiday dessert that always wows the non-special diet eaters?

Black Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

This is definitely a “grown up” dessert. The chocolate ganache is not overly sweet, contributing to the sophisticated combination of mousse and chocolate.  It’s perfect for a special occasion, a holiday meal, or any time you want to impress your guests.  No one will believe there’s no dairy, eggs, or refined sugar in this amazing confection! For a sweeter and nut-free version, see recipe notes, below.

For the Crust:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) light or dark agave nectar or coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) water
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (270 ml) Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (non alkalized/Dutch process is best)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) powdered pure stevia (I like NuNaturals)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp (7.5 ml) xanthan gum
  • 1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic, at room temperature (not melted)

For the Ganache:

  • 7 ounces (200 g) good quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (if you are okay with a bit of sugar, use chocolate that is 70% cacao, chopped, or bittersweet chips)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) smooth natural almond butter (I prefer Maranatha, but Nuts to You worked, too)
  • 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) full-fat canned coconut milk, preferably organic (I use Thai Kitchen; I can’t guarantee results with other brands. See recipe notes, below).
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) plain or vanilla rice, soy, or almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 40 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia
  • 1/3 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar

For the Almond Mousse:

  • 2 cups** (480 ml) full-fat coconut milk (from a can), preferably organic (I use Thai Kitchen, which has a high fat content; I can’t guarantee results with other brands. See recipe notes, below.)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) smooth natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut sugar
  • 60 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, about 1 tsp/5 ml 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure almond extract
  • 1 level teaspoon (5 ml) xanthan gum

Bake the Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) pie plate or 8-1/2 inch (20.5 cm) springform pan with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix the coconut sugar, agave nectar, vanilla and water in a small bowl and mix to begin dissolving the sugar.  Set aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the all-purpose flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, stevia, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until well combined.  Add the coconut oil and pulse a few times to break it up, then blend until well distributed (it will look dry and crumbly; this is as it should be).  Pour the wet mixture in a ring over the dry and process again until it comes together in a dough.
  4. Press the dough into the pie plate or on the bottom only of the springform pan (if it’s too soft to stay on the sides of the pie plate, refrigerate it for about ten minutes and then re-press; flute edges if desired.)  Prick the bottom of the crust here and there with a fork.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, until dry and lightly browned on the edges.  Allow to cool while you prepare the ganache.

Prepare the Ganache:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over lowest possible heat.  Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary by adding more stevia, a drop or two at a time (you can add more coconut sugar if you like, but unless you continue to cook the mixture, it won’t dissolve and your ganache will be grainy).
  2. Measure out 2 cups (480 ml) of the mixture and pour it over the crust in the pie plate or pan; reserve the rest to drizzle on top of the pie.  Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the ganache can firm up.

When the ganache is firm, make the mousse:

  1. In the container of a high-powered blender (I use a VitaMix), place all ingredients except for the xanthan gum.  Blend for 30 seconds to a minute, until everything is well mixed and very smooth. Add the xanthan gum and blend on low speed until incorporated, then blend on high for 15 seconds or so, until the mixture firms up and appears to no longer be blending; this should happen fairly quickly.  (If you don’t have a VitaMix, you can still make this, but you will need to make the mousse in two batches as a regular blender will not be strong enough to mix the entire thing at once; this even stresses the VitaMix a bit!  Use exactly half of each ingredient in each batch, then proceed as follows).
  2. Turn the mousse into the prepared crust and spread evenly over the ganache (or you can swirl it into a fancy pattern on top if you like). Drizzle as much of the reserved ganache as you like in a random pattern over the top of the mousse. Refrigerate until the ganache and filling are both firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Cut slices from the pie plate, or, to unmold the springform pan, run a sharp knife along the edge before loosening the sides of the pan.  Makes 8-10 servings.  Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 5 days. May be frozen (I freeze individual slices on a cookie sheet in the freezer; once solid, I wrap each slice in plastic wrap, then store the wrapped slices in a ziploc bag. To defrost, remove the slices and allow to defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator).

Recipe Notes: I used two cans of coconut milk (400 ml or 14 oz each) for this entire recipe. Measure out the 1-1/3 cups/320 ml for the ganache; you should have about 2 cups (480 ml) left for the mousse.

If you can tolerate more sugar, use 70% chocolate instead of unsweetened but don’t reduce the other sweeteners. You’ll end up with a sweeter ganache that is more suitable for younger palates.

You can use sunflower butter instead of almond butter to avoid the nuts here. Note, however, that sunflower butter does have a stronger flavor than almond butter.

Ricki Heller is the blogger behind Diet, Dessert and Dogs and the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar , recommended by Ellen DeGeneres on her website.  Ricki’s second book,  a revised and updated version of Sweet Freedom that’s 100% gluten-free and lower glycemic, is due out in Fall of 2013. She lives near Toronto with her husband and two dogs. Find Ricki on Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, too!

14 Responses to Black Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Option)

  • Kim says:

    How lovely!


    Ricki Heller Reply:

    @Kim, Thank you! It’s actually not as elaborate as it looks, just the time involved. :)


  • I don’t see how anyone can resist this pie, Ricki! And I do agree that taking something you can fully enjoy and that others can enjoy, too, is the best plan. It’s also a sure-fire method of portion control, at least if you are the one sharing, not necessarily for the others if they take seconds. ;-)



    Ricki Heller Reply:

    @Shirley @ gfe, I couldn’t agree more! My dishes are usually so popular that I have learned to serve myself first to ensure that I get SOMETHING I can eat!! ;-)


  • What’s not to like here? Gluten-free or not, it all sounds scrumptious! Plus, it’s beautiful to look at :-)


    Ricki Heller Reply:

    @Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free, Thanks so much!


  • Turq says:

    Coconut sugar? I can’t determine what that is. Does “coconut sugar” mean “palm sugar”?


    Ricki Heller Reply:

    @Turq, Yes, “coconut sugar” is another term for “palm sugar.” It just depends on the brand you buy. :)


  • nik says:

    goodgolly, just gloriously scrumptious! Many thanks for sharing it!


    Ricki Reply:

    @nik, Many thanks, Nik! :)


  • Anna-Marie says:

    xanthum gum …. sigh! i doubt that ground flax seed as a substitute would work in such a lovely dessert? thoughts?


    Ricki Reply:

    @Anna-Marie, I think if you absolutely can’t use xanthan, ground chia is a better bet than flax. The mousse will be thinner (if you use too much chia, it’s very gluey), but it will still taste good! :)


  • Tess Masters says:

    Ricki!!! OH YUM! Everything you make is just so spectacular. I am also on a special diet, and know that feeling so well, but your recipes always rescue me. I CANNOT wait to try this one. Happy holidays my friend. xxx


    Ricki Reply:

    @Tess Masters, Thanks so much, Tess–and wishing you the same! xo


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