Can you believe I made this graphic all by myself?

The other day (October 26, to be exact,) was my friend Phil’s birthday. Most of the world knows him has the lovable jerk CM Punk, harasser of bosses and The Best in the World. I know him as the lovable jerk who is notoriously difficult to birthday shop for. I think gift-wise I did pretty OK this year, but the cake is always the hardest part.

See, CM Punk hates frosting. It’s a debate we’ve had going since we met years ago. When he was making his way through the indie circuit I’d usually make him an angel food cake with fresh fruit, and real cake for everyone else we lived with. The last few years I made him cookies. But this year I happened to get my hands on a copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero right before the big day and decided to try my hand at a vegan Boston cream cake pie. It’s frosting-free, but with a layer of vanilla custard and another layer of ganache it’s definitely no angel food cake. Plus, Punk’s always been open-minded about eating vegan food so I knew he’d try it.

I got permission from Terry Hope Romero, who calls her kitchen The CM Punk Kitchen (Post-Punk Kitchen joke…) to share the recipe with you guys – so give it a try! It was a challenge for sure, but that’s what makes pie-baking so fun. Take a deep breath and read ALL the instructions before you get started.

Boston Hardcore Pie

Vanilla Cookie Crust

  • 1 & 3/4 cups finely ground vegan vanilla wafers (I used Back to Nature)
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 4 Tbs melted margarine (I use melted coconut oil, or you could use canola oil)
  • 1 Tbs plain non-dairy milk (I used almond)

Cake Layer

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

At least he liked the shirt I gave him.

Vanilla Creme Layer

  • 6oz silken tofu, drained (Use Edenic if you can find it!)
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp agar powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil, room temperature
Ganache
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 Tbs margarine
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Then you:
  1. First, make the cake. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray your 9″ pie pan with baking spray.
  2. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and form a well in the center. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to stir together until just mixed.
  3. Transfer the batter to the pie dish and bake 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. It might look shiny, but that’s OK. Cool the cake in the pie plate on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  4. Invert the cake. Place a large dinner plate over the cake, wearing oven mitts, grab the pie pan and dish, and flip it over. You might need to tap the bottom of the pan to get the cake out onto the plate. Cover the warm cake with plastic wrap and set it aside.
  5. Wash and dry the pie pan and spray it with more baking spray.
  6. Make the cookie crust. In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and sugar. Drizzle in the melted margarine (or oil) and use a spoon to mix, moistening the crumbs. Drizzle in the soy milk and stir again. The dough should be crumbly.
  7. Press the crust into the pie pan, pressing it into the sides first and working your way down. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  8. Make the cream filling. In a blender, combine the tofu, salt, vanilla extract, lemon juice and almond extract. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Set this aside for a moment.
  9. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the soy milk and the agar powder. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar.
  10. In a measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk and the cornstarch. Slowly pour this into the simmering soy milk mixture and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut oil and stir until melted.
  11. Scrape the cooked mixture into the blender with the tofu. Puree until everything is very smooth. Scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula occasionally. Immediately pour hot cream into the baked pie shell. Tap the pie pan a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Chill the pie for 10 minutes to set the filling.
  12. When the filling feels firmer to the touch, unwrap the inverted cake layer and carefully slide it onto the pie so it’s centered on top of the filling.
  13. Prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan, bring the soy milk to a rapid simmer for 1 minute over medium heat. Turn off the flame and use a rubber spatula to stir in the chocolate chips and margarine. Continue to stir until the chips are melted and the texture is very smooth. Pour the ganache onto the center of the cake and use a spatula to spread it over the top.
  14. Return the cake to the fridge and chill for at least 3 hours before serving, overnight is best.
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OK now I will admit that I used Merckens candy wafers to make the varsity X’s, and those aren’t vegan. But neither is CM Punk so I didn’t think he’d mind. If you wanted to do the same, you might be able to use vegan white chocolate.  I just printed out some X’s, covered the print-out with waxed paper, and piped the melted candy by tracing the design. I let those set up, plucked them off the waxed paper and placed them on the ganache.
I was super impressed with this recipe, tasting everything along the way I thought it came out awesome. What did CM Punk think? Well, he never said… which could be good or bad. But I’m stoked on this book. Maybe he’ll make me a pie from it for my birthday.