Monday, October 10, 2011

When Just Chocolate Won't Do

When it came to making a pie for my friend Lindsay's birthday, my initial thought was chocolate cream.  But knowing how fabulous my friend is, and how "just chocolate" wouldn't do for such a special lady, I decided to she needed chocolate with something more.  Lindsay is a bona fide coffee junkie, so mocha seemed to make perfect sense.  And just to make the pie that much more fabulous, I added some booze too!  I think a girl has the right to go all out on her birthday.

Mocha Cream Pie
1 9" pie crust, blind baked
2 cups half & half
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tb. instant espresso powder
2 eggs
2 Tb. cornstarch
4 oz. quality semi-sweet or bittersweet  chocolate, chopped
1 Tb. butter
2 Tb. Baileys Irish Cream
2 cups heavy cream
3 Tb. sugar

In a small, heavy bottom pot, combine 1 1/2 cups of the half & half, the sugar and instant espresso.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup half & half, the eggs and cornstarch.  When the liquid mixture is simmering, ladle in about a cup of it into the egg and cornstarch mixture.  This will temper the eggs so that you don't add them cold into the hot liquid, thereby scrambling them.  Whisk the warmed egg mixture back into the pot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly to keep lumps from forming.  As soon as the mixture boils, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, butter and Baileys.  Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the cream is smooth.  You can strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to ensure a silky-smooth texture.  Pour the chocolate cream into the baked, cooled pie crust and smooth the top.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to keep a skin from forming. Place in the refrigerator and let cool completely, at least 4 hours.  Whip the heavy cream and sugar together to stiff peaks.  Top the pie with the whipped cream and decorate as desired with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

A pie fit for a fabulous birthday girl!

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