I basically broke all of the rules today. There were so many, I am not sure where to start. I am going to let you in on a few secrets…and I hope you don’t think poorly of me. First of all, it was the end of Thanksgiving weekend – and tonight my daughter had her book club. I really procrastinated badly with this month’s book – I started it last night at 8:30pm. Good thing it was a quick read – and a really good book – so luckily I finished it easily. I signed up to bring dessert – not really remembering that it was Thanksgiving weekend, but I knew I could rally.
This morning, I took out some recipes, and gave my daughter 4 options which to choose from. She narrowed it down to two, then I chose the winner – a Mile-High Chocolate Pie. The picture in Bon Appetit said it all – it looked amazing. I read through the recipe, and realized it had to chill for 4 hours, so I could not do my usual and procrastinate baking – I had to get to work. I decided to make my life just a little simpler – and buy a prepared pie crust (rule #1). The last time I did that I swore I would never do it again. And after that amazing pie crust on made on Thanksgiving – I was really surprised by this decision – but it was a desperate situation. It was 11am, and we still hadn’t gone to the supermarket for the ingredients. I decided to buy a different prepared crust at Whole Foods – and when I went to check out – I saw the checker looking strangely at the crust. I told her that usually I make my own, but we were in a bit of a time crunch today, so I went with a prepared crust. She was awesome – she told me she wouldn’t charge me for it – just in case it didn’t work out. Wow.
We started baking at about 1:30pm – not too bad, but yes, cutting it very close. In order to cut corners again, I decided to go with semi-sweet chocolate chips, instead of using good chocolate and chopping it up (rule #2). Bad decision. The melted chocolate was a mess, and it never actually melted, it just got gritty – I had to throw it away and go with the good chocolate. Much better – so please, use good chocolate if you make this – it makes all the difference. Also – the egg white mixture never really tripled in size – but that made no difference what-so-ever. There was so much filling, this would have been called a Fourteener Chocolate Pie, had I not decided to stop mounding (rule #3), and fill some ramekins with the extra chocolate mixture.
The pie came out perfect – it looked beautiful, it had just enough time to chill – and it tasted amazing. In fact – it was so good – that I couldn’t wait to post it (rule #4). Normally I cannot get my act together to bake, photograph, write and post – all in the same day. In fact – the Spinach Puffs post was the first time I had done that in months – maybe even years – and it was because I took the day off from work. For those of you that actually think I can come home from working 10 hours in the office, cook a delicious meal for my family – take pictures and then write something about what I made – all in the same day – that is crazy talk. I really would be superwoman. But today – I did it – I had to, I couldn’t wait to share this pie – good thing it was a Sunday after having 4 other days off. So yes, I broke a lot of rules today – but I think these types of rules are meant to be broken. Now excuse me while I run to the kitchen and have another bite of pie – yes, I can do that when I post the same day I bake…
- 1 pie crust, home made or store-bought
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. 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
Preheat oven to 350°. Line pie dish with crust; crimp edges decoratively. Fully bake pie crust according to instructions in recipe or on box. Let cool completely.
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.
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.
Beat 2 cups cream in another medium bowl until medium peaks form (cream should be soft and pillowy), 5-6 minutes.
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 ½ cup chocolate mousse into bottom of prepared pie crust; spread evenly over bottom of crust. Sprinkle 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. 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.
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.)
Garnish pie with 2 Tbsp. chocolate wafers and chocolate shavings. Slice pie using a clean, dry knife; wipe between slices to ensure clean, elegant pieces.
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