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Carol Kicinski
Chocolate curls add an extra touch to make this pie stand out.

Hot outside? Cool off with a no-bake pie

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   There is something about soaring temperatures that zaps my energy and dulls my desire to turn on an oven. It does nothing, however, to dull my appetite for delicious desserts.
   I am all for icy cold watermelon slices and fresh cherries for summertime desserts but every once in a while I crave pie.
   This gluten-free, nut-free, no-bake pie uses only a handful of ingredients. It is quick to prepare and your freezer does most of the work.
   I just mix up some nut-free peanut butter substitute – I use crunchy for some texture but you could also use creamy – with a little cream, vanilla and powdered sugar. Then I fold in some whipped cream, put the mixture into a gluten free crust with a layer of chocolate and then into the freezer for a couple hours.
   This pie is not only easy, it also happens to look pretty fancy schmancy.
   Part of the reason it looks so fancy is because
Gluten Free "Peanut Butter" and Chocolate No-Bake Pie
Serves 6 to 8
1½ cups gluten free graham cracker crumbs
1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 ¼ cups heavy cream – use divided
1 cup nut-free peanut butter substitute
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 (1-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate squares (optional)

   Combine gluten free graham cracker crumbs with salt and melted butter. Mix well. Press evenly and firmly into a 9-inch pie plate.
   Combine ¼ cup of heavy cream with chocolate chips and microwave on high power for 2 minutes or until the cream is hot and the chocolate is almost melted. Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
   Pour chocolate over the crust and spread into an even layer. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.
   Whip 1½ cups cream until it forms stiff peaks. In another mixing bowl combine peanut butter substitute with remaining ½ cup cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Take ⅓ of the whipped cream and stir it into the peanut butter substitute mixture then fold in the rest of the cream until no longer streaky. Put mixture into pie plate on top of the chocolate layer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
   Microwave chocolate squares for 15 seconds on medium power then scrape the blade of a vegetable peeler along the edge to form into curls. Refrigerate curls until ready to use. Scatter chocolate curls over top of pie before serving.
   To make the pie easier to cut, take out of the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.
of the chocolate curls – they really dress up a dessert and make you look like a pastry chef rock star, but they couldn’t be easier.
   Just take a couple squares of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, microwave them on medium power for 15
seconds and then run a vegetable peeler along the edge. Pop them into the fridge until ready to use.
   So if it’s sweltering outside but you still need pie, try this recipe. But beware – you won’t stop at just one slice!