The Utah State Fair is going on this week and next.  Every year, in addition to displays and exhibitions, they hold Bake Off contests.  It's been a few years since I went, but it's something my family and I enjoy participating in.

The competition on Thursday was the "Governor Herbert's Favorite Pie" Bake Off.  He and his wife were taste-testers of all the pies, but there were three pastry shop owners/chefs brought in as the judges.  Long story short, this is the pie I brought.  They liked it (it earned second place), and nobody could believe what the 'secret ingredient' was!  Two whole avocados.  Sounds like an April Fools' Day food, doesn't it?

When made in a plain chocolate pie, the avocado can be detected only as a faint fruity taste.  I took advantage of that by using orange juice and zest in the pie.  I've made several flavor variations on this pie, but the chocolate-orange is my favorite.  Well, the favorite chocolate version, anyway.  I really, really like the Lime Silk Pie.

This filling is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, refined sugar, and nuts!  If that matters to you, just be sure that the crust and toppings you use are, as well.

The pie also freezes well.  The texture softens slightly after being thawed, but not by much.   To thaw one piece, let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.  To thaw the whole pie, let it sit 45-60 minutes instead.
If you cut the amount of orange juice or water in half and just pour it in a pan, you get fudge instead.

Chocolate Truffle Pie

Juice and finely shredded zest from one large orange or two smaller ones 
½ cup honey
 ½ cup coconut oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ripe avocados, about 5 oz. apiece
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

One 8” pie crust
Fudge sauce
Whipped cream

Measure orange juice; add a little water or more juice to equal ½ cup.  Put the orange juice, zest (should be about 1 Tbsp), honey, coconut oil, cocoa, avocados, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor.  Run on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth.  Pour into prepared crust.  Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours until set.   Let stand at room temperature 30-60 minutes before serving for a softer texture. 

Serve with a drizzle of fudge sauce and some whipped cream.

 
 
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So- it's a little past the fact now, but I had so much fun I wanted to share it...

We had a main dish that looked like dessert- this "carrot cake" is really meatloaf and mashed potatoes.....    

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And a dessert that looked like a main dish.


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So here was the whole meal. 

The actual cake, the spaghetti and meatballs, was made using the Sauerkraut Cake recipe.

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Ta-da! 
The original idea came from someone's two-person 'cake', made using two hamburger patties as the cake layers, frosted the same as below.

To make this one, started with about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of burger and make it into meatloaf, pat it into a 7" circle with vertical sides, and bake it in an 8x8 square baking dish.  When it is done, toast about 1/2 cup bread crumbs in the still-hot oven (I used panko because that's what was in the cupboard); about five minutes is all it will take.  After the mealoaf has rested about ten minutes to firm up, cover it using about 3 cups of mashed potatoes.  (I made them using potato flakes.)  To pipe the carrots, soften about 2 oz. of plain cream cheese; tint half orange, and half green.  Put each color in a ziptop baggie and snip a small corner off; squeeze a carrot shape first, then make 2-4 small green lines for each carrot top.  I used a pastry tip for the swirl on top (filled JUST the decorating tip with potatoes, and shoved my clean thumb into it); you can skip that part, use a bag and tip, or snip an 'M' shape in the corner of a ziptop baggie to pipe out of. 
To coat the sides, press a handful of crumbs against the side, repeat all the way around.   Serve warm, and refrigerate any leftovers, of course!

To make the 'spaghetti casserole', start by baking any cake in a square or rectangular pan.  My family's big enough we used a 9x13 pan.  After it's cool, frost with a rather thin layer of frosting.  Put a cup of frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (# 3) OR in a heavy-duty ziptop bag, one lower corner reinforced with tape, then snip off a tiny corner.   Squeeze frosting out, letting it randomly pile up a bit on itself to form the 'spaghetti'.  Unwrapped Ferrero Rocher make splendid meatballs, and strawberry jam makes for good 'spaghetti sauce'.   Grate a little white chocolate over the top for the 'parmesan' look.

 
 
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Apparently this was a popular cake for April Fools' Day back in the 1960's.   It tastes nothing like sauerkraut, and any bits you find in the cake resemble coconut.  (The white bits you see in this photo are hazelnuts I threw in.) The sauerkraut gives moisture to the cake, just like adding shredded carrots or zucchini would.   My mom is already planning to make this with just plain shredded cooked cabbage.

   I haven't tried the frosting recipe that comes with it; I was out of mayonnaise, and made a whipped ganache instead (8 oz. chocolate melted into 8 oz. whipping cream, cool to room temperature and whip it).  I imagine the mayo version tastes quite a lot like the chocolate-sour cream frosting I've had before- a little tangy and really delicious, only this recipe also calls for coconut and pecans....  mmm.


Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 9" cake pans. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix half of this into the sugar mixture.  Add 3/4 c. of the water, beat in, then beat in the rest of the dry ingredients.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Fold in the sauerkraut and pecans, using a spoon or spatula.  Bake about 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a rack.

Frosting

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted (one 11-12 oz. bag)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2/3 cup pecans, chopped

Whisk together the melted chocolate and the mayonnaise.  Set aside 2 cups of this.  Add 1/3 cup each of coconut and pecans to the remaining frosting to make the filling. 

Spread half of the filling on one cake layer, top with another cake layer, spread with the other half of filling, and put the last layer on top.  Frost the whole cake with the reserved 2 cups of frosting.  Press the last 1/3 cup each of coconut and pecans into the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate until time to serve. 

See here for another way to decorate and serve this cake!