This French silk pie recipe deviates from tradition for a lighter version. Butter and sugar are traded for dates and canola oil in the crust, while the chocolate filling has less egg and butter and is thickened with gelatin. The tasty secret is a shot of coffee that enhances the pie's chocolate flavor without giving it a detectable coffee flavor.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2008; October 2020 30th Anniversary


Recipe Summary

30 mins
4 hrs 15 mins




Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray.

  • To prepare crust: Combine chocolate wafers and dates in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add water and oil and process until moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

  • Bake until the crust is crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

  • To prepare filling: Combine coffee and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin on top.

  • Whisk egg, milk, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan until smooth. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until dissolved. Add chocolate and vanilla, stirring until melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  • Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 5 tablespoons brown sugar, beating until the meringue is smooth and glossy.

  • Whisk one-fourth of the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue and fold in with a whisk. Spoon the filling into the crust and chill until set, about 3 hours.

  • Just before serving, beat cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Spread fresh whipped cream over the pie and sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie pan

Tip: Many commercial cookies and wafers contain partially hydrogenated oil, a source of trans-fatty acids. Look for brands made without these oils, such as Newman's Own Organics and Mi-Del, which fortunately are every bit as tasty. Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets.

Ingredient Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized--a wise choice when making meringue toppings that may not reach 160°F (the temperature at which eggs are considered "safe"). You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets. Reconstitute according to package directions.

Nutrition Facts

261 calories; protein 5g; carbohydrates 31g; dietary fiber 2g; sugars 21g; fat 15g; saturated fat 7g; cholesterol 47mg; vitamin a iu 51.1IU; folate 4.5mcg; calcium 32mg; iron 0.6mg; magnesium 18.1mg; potassium 160mg; sodium 95mg; added sugar 12g.

Reviews (3)

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4 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
This recipe was really great! I made it for Thanksgiving when pumpkin and apple pies are usually the favorites this one was a serious hit. Nobody even knew it was so light! I used half dark cocoa and a little extra espresso powder to give it a richer flavor. I highly recommend this recipe if you are a chocolate lover. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Unbelievably WONDERFUL! I made this for my husband as dessert for our anniversary dinner. He is a French Silk Pie conoisseur but hasn't had it in a while as it isn't "healthy". I saw this recipe and - despite the fact it contained gelatin - I had to try it. I did some research and found I could easily substitute 2 tablespoons of Agar Agar flakes (or 1 1/2 teaspoons Agar Agar powder) instead of gelatin (we don't use gelatin products in our house - we think it's just disgusting considering what it's really made of & how it's made!)! Agar Agar is all natural and made from seaweed; it's colorless odorless and completely tasteless but is rich in minerals & amino acids. Whole Foods carries it or you can get it at Amazon. Anyway I subbed Agar flakes (2 Tbs.) Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (use only 6 Tbs. divided NOT 8 Tbs!) 1 Tbs. pure vanilla and I used Egg Beaters (1/4 cup) instead of the large egg. Oh and I put 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder in the crust and dissolved 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder in 2 Tbsp. of boiling water (which I let come to room temp. before adding the Agar flakes). I also used very expensive high quality cocoa and chocolate (Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa & 65% semi-sweet chocolate) - the best in my opinion. This pie is the BEST French Silk my husband and I have ever had! It is light and airy but very rich thick creamy smooth and chocolate-y!! The espresso really enhances the richness of the chocolate! This Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I never even told my husband this was a lighter recipe! If anything it might be too chocolately for milk chocolate lovers but perfect for dark chocolate fans. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This recipe was really great! I made it for Thanksgiving when pumpkin and apple pies are usually the favorite this one was a hit. Nobody even knew it was so light. I used half dark cocoa and added a little more espresso powder to make it a little richer. I definitely recommend this recipe if you are a chocolate lover! Read More