One of the greatest, and most interesting, cooking personalities on the web has declared it Pie Week. Who am I to argue with the one and only Pioneer Woman herself? So, despite the fact that National Pie Day isn’t until December 1st I’m going to go ahead and celebrate by sharing my recipe for Chocolate Opium Pie.
Don’t worry, it’s totally legal. So where did the name come from? This dense and decadent chocolate mousse pie is fragrantly spiced with pink peppercorns, cinnamon and a touch of ancho chili powder, so I wanted a name that evoked the spice route and honor the flavors that make this treat unique. Never used pink peppercorns? They’re fragrant, sweet and spicy! And while they are also peppery, they are not actually peppercorns, but the berry of a South American plant called Baies Rose. How exotic. And if the richness of the fancy chocolate decked with spices seems a bit intense for you, the tangy crème fraiche topping does a great job of cutting through the noise.
Intrigued? Read on for a recipe that will make you a hero this holiday season. And apologies for the lack of pretty pictures. They’ll be back!
CHOCOLATE OPIUM PIE
One 9-inch Gingersnap Crust
(I really love Karen Demasco’s version made with homemade gingersnaps, but that’s a lot of effort, so sometimes I buy high quality ones and proceed from there)
Chocolate Mousse Filling
8 ounces of the deepest, darkest chocolate you can get–anything above 70% cacao will suitable knock your socks off! I use Madécasse when I’m splurging and Endangered Species when I’m not.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream–chilled
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon pink peppercorns–ground up with a coffee mill or in a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (how hot do you like it)
Crème Fraiche Topping
1 cup heavy cream–chilled
1 cup crème fraiche–chilled
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Before we get started, stick your metal mixing bowl and beater for your mixer into the freezer for a few minutes. You’re really going to need a mixer (hand or stand) for this one, unless you are really strong and have the endurance of an ultra-marathoner.
1. Melt the butter and chocolate (break it up) in a heat resistant bowl set over a small pot of boiling water. If you are fancy and own a double boiler, use it. Whisk the chocolate until it is entirely melted. Remove the bowl from heat and let it cool for a minute. Then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time and add your ground up peppercorns, cinnamon and ancho chili powder.
2. Whip up your heavy cream with that chilled bowl and beater. Once it is nice and thick (but before it is butter) stash it in the fridge. Thoroughly wash your beater (if you’ve only got one mixer bowl transfer the whipped cream to another vessel and thoroughly was that, too). This is really important! If there is any fat (from the cream) left on your beater/bowl your egg whites won’t whip up properly.
3. Now whip those egg whites until you get soft peaks. I like to start on medium and then kick it up to high. Gradually add the sugar, a little bit at a time, and keep on beating on until you’ve got stiff peaks (they should be shiny).
4. Gently fold the chocolate into the egg whites. I like to start with 1/4 of the egg whites and then add another 1/4 at a time until they’re all in there. Then fold whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
5. Scrape your mousse into your crust. I like to tap the pie plate on the counter a few times to get any air bubbles out. Refrigerate your pie for a couple of hours.
7. To make your topping, combine all of your remaining ingredients in a bowl and beat away (you don’t need to clean your beater for this round of fluffing). It’s done when it’s thick enough to spread. Now spread this tangy deliciousness on top of your pie and dig in.
***If you are feeling lazy, just make a parfait out of gingersnap crumbs, chocolate mousse and crème fraiche topping. It’s got all the great tastes without all of the assembly***