Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chocolate Pie Crust with Chocolate Mousse and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

If the title sounds good, I wish you could have tasted the actual pie. If you like chocolate, this is most certainly the pie for you. While I am not crazy-fond of chocolate, having it sometimes is nice. Our friend Rich is a real chocoholic, and this pie was created with him in mind as he and his significant other, Heidi, were here over the Fourth of July. The Chocolate Pie Pastry recipe has been on my website for some time, but I will repeat it here
Chocolate Mousse Pie

Chocolate Pie Pastry

Chocolate Pie Pastry before baking
Chocolate Pie Pastry before baking a Double Chocolate Pecan Pie
For one 9-inch pie shell

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup shortening or lard
2 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons ice cold vodka

For one 10-inch pie shell:

1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup shortening or lard
4 tablespoons ice water
4 tablespoons ice cold vodka (or use all water)

Stir flour, salt, brown sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in shortening or lard until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add most of the water or water/vodka and toss with a fork until all flour mixture is moistened and starts to form a ball. If necessary, add remaining liquid to the crumbs in bottom of the bowl. Gather the dough in your hands and gently shape into a ball, then flatten. Chill for 1 hour before using.

To blind bake this crust, preheat oven to 375 degrees, or 350 on Convection Baking. Partially freeze the formed shell, then line it with foil and pie weights. Bake the partially frozen shell for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and pie weights and prick the crust all over with the tip of a knife. Place in oven for 13 to 15 minutes more, until the crust is well set.

The Chocolate Mousse recipe is fantastic and would likely serve 8 as individual servings, here the amount makes enough to fill the pie. I used Mascarpone Whipped Cream for this recipe because it holds up perfectly, even over days, without oozing any liquid. It has a wonderful flavor and a heartier texture than plain whipped cream, though plain whipped cream would also work on this pie if it will all be eaten at once. Using this whole recipe as I made it would easily allow making it the day ahead without affecting its freshness. The crust can be made 2 days in advance and covered tightly. This is important with time crunches in holiday food planning.

Chocolate Mocha Mousse
This Chocolate Mousse recipe is so terribly simple that it almost seems it couldn't work. There is no cooking involved. The use of unflavored gelatin helps the mousse set up quickly. The only thing needed is a small electric hand mixer, or even an old-fashioned egg-beater if you have a strong enough arm. The mixture is perfect for any time you might need a mousse that works in piping bags as easily as just pouring into a bowl. The texture is creamy and smooth and unctuously rich. 

Pie Shell unbaked left                    |                    Pie Shell baked right
I made the chocolate pie pastry recipe a few days in advance, placing it into a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. The day before making the pie, I rolled out the pastry to fit a 9-inch pie plate and crimped the edges high onto the rim. The oven was set to 375 to blind bake the shell, or 350 on Convection. I first set the pie plate with pastry into the freezer for about 1/2 hour. Taking it from the freezer, I lined it with foil, carefully fitting the foil right up and almost over the crimped edges. I have a heavy "Pie Chain" from King Arthur Flour, so I used that set into the bottom of the foil in the pan. If you do not have a pie chain, use dried beans to weight the bottom. I baked the crust this way for 12 minutes, then removed the foil and weights and pricked little holes all over the crust with the tip of a knife and set it back in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes more, or until the crust is well set. In this case, one cannot tell if the crust is "golden," as it is too dark chocolate colored to know. Remove from oven and allow the crust to cool completely before filling. Once cooled, it can be covered tightly and stored for one or two days before filling, if needed.

Chocolate Mousse for Pie

makes enough for one 9-inch pie

2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand for a few minutes to soften. Add the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside.

Pie filled and smoothed, left |  topped with Mascarpone Whipped Cream, right
In a larger mixing bowl combine the sugar and the cocoa, whisking to combine. Add in the whipping cream and vanilla and beat the mixture with an electric mixer or rotary beater until the cream holds soft peaks. Add in the dissolved gelatin and beat again to distribute evenly. 

Pour this mixture into the baked and cooled Chocolate Pie Pastry shell, using a knife or offset spatula to smooth the top and press into the edges  of the pastry. Store this pie in the refrigerator once filled. 
One slice of Chocolate Mousse Pie

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Topping

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
4 ounces mascarpone cheese

Have all utensils very cold by placing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator before use. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. Add in the confectioners' sugar and beat again until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add int he mascarpone cheese and beat again only until well combined. Beating too long after adding the mascarpone will make the mixture look curdled.

Spoon or pipe decoratively on top of the pie as desired. It can be dolloped onto the edges and using a spoon, make pretty dips and peaks. I topped each of the piped stars with one chocolate chip.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.