From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The pie I'm featuring tonight served as a trial run for one that was sold at a pie auction yesterday. If you are curious to know what it sold for, stop by my Facebook page. The Silver Fox, who at his best, was never a candidate for the diplomatic corp, took one look at it and promptly dubbed my lovely creation, Borscht Belt Chocolate Pie. For those unfamiliar with that reference, the Borscht Belt was a resort area in the Catskill Mountains that was frequented by predominately Jewish guests who came from the NYC area to escape the heat and vacation in the crisp mountain air. In their hay day, the resorts were famous for entertainment and the copious quantities of food they provided for their guests. It is a virtual certainty that creamy pies, similar to this one, were found on dessert tables in the hotel dining rooms. While it is, admittedly, a study in wretched excess, this rich pie is delicious and I think that most of you will enjoy it, especially if you have the discipline to regulate your portion size. It consists of a pie crust that is covered with chocolate wafer crumbs and then filled with a truly delicious mousse that is topped with a mountain of whipped cream fraiche and chocolate curls. The whipped topping is unsweetened and it adds a lovely nutty tang that helps balance the richness of the mousse and cream. I found the recipe for this creation last summer in Bon Appetit magazine. The recipe that appears below is theirs and does not reflect the changes I made to the auctioned pie. To make the pie a bit more attractive, I baked the final version in a high-sided tart pan that was lined with a chocolate crumb crust rather than short pastry. I also added plain gelatin and a bit of white creme de cocoa to the topping to stabilize it and add a bit more flavor. This pie needs to sit for at least 24 hours before it is sliced. As a matter of fact, I recommend freezing it and slicing it while frozen if you want clean slices. This is not a hard dessert to make if you break it into segments, but do be forewarned, it is time consuming. If you like rich creamy desserts I think you'll love this pie. Here is how it is made.
Chocolate Mousse Pie...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine
1 pie crust, homemade or store-bought
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 71% cacao), chopped, plus more shaved with a vegetable peeler for garnish
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup coarsely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), divided
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line pie dish with crust; crimp edges decoratively. Fully bake pie crust according to recipe or box instructions. Let cool completely.
2) Whisk egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water until sugar dissolves and egg whites are warm but not hot, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until cool, tripled in volume, and stiff peaks form (the tips of the peaks won't fall over when beaters are lifted from bowl and turned upright), about 6 minutes.
3) Stir chopped chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over same saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth, 4–5 minutes; set aside.
4) Beat 2 cups cream in another medium bowl until medium peaks form (cream should be soft and pillowy), 5–6 minutes.
5) Gently fold egg whites into warm chocolate mixture until fully incorporated (work quickly to prevent chocolate from turning gritty). Gently fold in whipped cream just until no white streaks remain; do not overmix or mixture will deflate. Spoon 1/2 cup chocolate mousse into bottom of prepared pie crust; spread evenly over bottom of crust. Sprinkle 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons crushed chocolate wafers over mousse. Top with remaining mousse, mounding in the center to create a dome. (The point is to add height, not to spread out evenly to edges.) Chill pie.
6) Beat remaining 2 cups cream, crème fraîche, and salt until medium-stiff peaks form (when the beaters are lifted from the cream, the peaks will hold their shape but the tips will fall over). Top chocolate mousse with whipped-cream mixture, following the same rounded dome shape. Chill pie for at least 4 hours or, covered, for up to 3 days. (It will slice best if chilled overnight, allowing mousse to set properly.)
7) Garnish pie with 2 tablespoons chocolate wafers and chocolate shavings. Slice pie using a clean, dry knife; wipe between slices to ensure clean, elegant pieces. Yield: 10 servings.
One Year Ago Today: Stir-Fried Tofu with Bok Choy
Two Years Ago Today: National Coffeecake Day - A Retrospective
Three Years Ago Today: Cheesy Orzo Pilaf
Four Years Ago Today: Maple Nut Chiffon Cake