I like to talk a lot. Had you guessed as much?
Today, I’m going to restrain myself. Just to allow you to concentrate.
Concentrate on chocolate.
Concentrate on pie.
Concentrate on a chocolate pie that will hopefully rock your world.
Are you concentrating? OK. Good.
I’ve been married for several years so I know that whispering makes interrupting OK.
I’m whispering right now when I tell you that we’re using Mexican chocolate in this particular pie. The flavor of Mexican chocolate is not to be trifled with. I’m partial to the Ibarra label.
We’re also pressing some instant espresso powder and ground ancho chile into our crust. There will be no trifling today.
One more whisper-interruption, just to remind you to whisk regularly as you prepare your custard filling. This pie is incredibly easy to assemble so you can spare the extra minutes on your whisk work.
And don’t forget to pass your finished custard through a fine mesh sieve. The custard will ultimately remain just a little grainy, since Mexican chocolate is grainy and coarse. But the sieving will allow you to achieve some degree of smoothness as the custard cools. Don’t skip it! (I’m still whispering.)
I’m not even whispering at you when I say that all pies are better when topped with whipped cream. Duh. You already know that – no whispering necessary.
I’ll use just a little telepathy to suggest that you sweeten the cream that tops this pie. A nice compliment to the rich chocolate filling and spicy crust.
You’re a really good concentrator. And I’m so good at not talking! Let’s celebrate with some pie.
You can have the first piece if I can stop whispering. Deal? Deal. Cheers!
Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie
recipe adapted from Gourmet Comfort Food magazine
For the crust:
1 1/2 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs (You can really use any chocolate wafer cookie here. I ground my grahams in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Approximately 10 whole crackers yielded the one and one half cups of crumbs that I needed for this pie.)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. ancho chile, ground
For the filling:
4 large egg yolks
2/3 c. white sugar, granulated
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. whole milk
2- 3.14 oz. disks of Mexican chocolate, chopped, melted (Mexican chocolate is sold in disks or ‘tablets’ that weigh approximately 3 ounces each. If you are substituting American chocolate in this recipe, you should use 6 ounces.)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
For the topping:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. white sugar, granulated
cocoa powder for finishing
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix cracker/cookie crumbs, melted butter, espresso powder and ancho powder in a small bowl until mixture is approximately the consistency of wet sand. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a large saucepan. Place pan over medium heat and, while continuing to whisk, pour in milk. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute while whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer and whisk for one additional minute. Remove thickened mixture and whisk in melted chocolate and butter. Pour custard into a large bowl and cover with a buttered piece of wax paper (refrigerated custard will form a skin – you’ll want the wax paper to be in direct contact with the top of the custard to prevent the skin from forming).
Once the custard has cooled to at least room temperature, pour it over the baked crust.
Meanwhile, using a chilled bowl and beaters, whip heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread cream over the top of the pie and finish with a dusting of cocoa powder. Chill and serve (pie can be chilled up to 1 day before serving).
YIELD: approximately 8-10 servings