Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chocolate Coffee S'mores Pie

This is such a decadent but easy recipe that reminds me why I love baking so much. Cooking is great and I really enjoy being able to throw ingredients together and being able to improvise without worrying about being too precise. But with baking, there's something so satisfying about following a recipe exactly and having it turn out perfectly, you know? That's what happened here, and while there are a few different steps, there's nothing particularly labor intensive about it. It's super decadent, a little whimsical, and a lot delicious.

Chocolate Coffee S'mores Pie (recipe from here)

Graham Cracker Crust

9 whole graham crackers, ground finely in a food processor

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons Nutella

1 ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Coffee Ganache

12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), finely chopped

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans


2 large egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

For the crust, just combine the graham cracker crumbs, heavy cream, Nutella, melted chocolate, and melted butter in a bowl. Then press the mixture into a nine inch pie pan to form a crust and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to let it harden a bit. If there are some extra crumbs, they're pretty tasty eaten by the spoonful. Not that I have any experience with that, of course.

I honestly think this was the hardest part - chopping up blocks of semisweet chocolate into fine, easily meltable (is that a word?) pieces. My wrist got a little sore, but what a small price to pay for a creamy, rich chocolate filling. 

Once you've chopped up the chocolate, boil the heavy cream and coffee grounds in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Just as it reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and 1/4 stick unsalted butter. Cover the mixture and let it all melt together - it's like a coffee-heavy cream-chocolate soup. Oh yeah.

Let the mixture sit for about five minutes, then gently stir it together until it's combined. Pour the whole thing through a fine mesh strainer to filter out the coffee grounds.

Now the filling is nice and smooth and ready to go, so you can pour it into the pie crust and refrigerate it for about an hour to let it solidify. It's starting to look really good, right? But just wait for the final step!

This part is kind of magical, seriously. You start with just two egg whites in a bowl, it really doesn't look like much. But as you gradually add in the sugar, it develops into a thick, shiny meringue. Start by using an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they are frothy, then add in the sugar in four separate increments, beating for a minute on medium-high speed after each addition. Once the sugar is all added in, continue beating until the meringue is thick and stiff - probably about three more minutes.

Spoon the meringue over the chocolate filling, and use a rubber spatula to create a mound in the middle if you're feeling fancy.

Now, Bon Appetit suggests using a kitchen torch to brown the top of the meringue. Really? Who has a kitchen torch? I mean, more power to you if you do, but I certainly don't. I just set my oven to broil on high and put the pie in there for about four minutes - not too close to the top of the oven so it doesn't catch on fire. You'll want to keep a close eye on it; pull it out of the oven just as it starts to brown and look like a perfectly toasted marshmallow.

Dig in! The chocolate-coffee filling will be just a little melty, the meringue will be sweet and toasty, and the crust adds a nice crunch.

And sometimes the crust doesn't hold together so you have to spoon it over the top...no worries, it still tastes amazing!

There's the aftermath...

And here's Poppy in her new fort aka a paper bag. It doesn't take much, does it?

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