21 December 2013

3.1415926 - or The Ultimate Pi(e) Recipe

I love pie. Cream pie, fruit pie, custard pie... Any kind of pie. And every year, for Thanksgiving, I make a TON of pies. A few years ago, I started inventing new pie recipes each year to add to our pie menu. (The Chocolate Walnut and Apple Cranberry varieties have become staples in our pie diet.)

This year, I decided to try something a little different. Something rich and creamy, and totally decadent. So I present to you: 3.1415926 or The Ultimate Pi(e)

You will need:
1- 9" Pie Tin

Chocolate Crust:
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/3 c. oil
2-3 Tbsp. ice-cold water

Cheesecake Layer:
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese
2 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. lemon juice

Caramel Sauce (you can make your own, but I used store-bought caramel ice cream topping)**

Chocolate Mousse Layer:
1 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract

Whipped Cream Layer:
1 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

First, make the crust. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt and cocoa powder. Add oil and stir with a fork until ingredients are thoroughly-combined and mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and stir gently, just until dough is moistened and starts to stick together. (In humid climates, you'll probably need less water, in dry climates, you may need more.) Form dough into a ball and place between 2 large sheets of waxed paper. Roll into a thin disc, approximately 3/4" larger all around than your pie tin. Transfer dough to your pie tin and crimp the edges all around.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add almond extract and lemon juice, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour into chocolate crust and bake in preheated oven for one hour, until cheesecake is golden-brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (Cheesecake should puff up over the crust, almost looking like it's going to spill over the edges of the pie plate.)

Chill 6-8 hours. (As it chills, cheesecake will settle and deflate, leaving the perfect indentation for the next layers of filling.)

Spread chilled cheesecake with a generous layer of caramel sauce.**

In large mixing bowl, stir together all chocolate mousse ingredients. Whip with wire whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form. Spoon mousse over caramel layer and spread evenly.

Whip together whipped cream topping ingredients the same way, and spread gently over chocolate mousse layer. Chill 2-3 hours, until ready to serve.

** Updated 11 December 2015: If the original version isn't decadent enough, you can add a layer of salted caramel mousse between the caramel sauce and the chocolate mousse layer. (This is what I did for our 3.14 pi(e) this year.) 

You will need:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. finely-ground sea salt
1/4 c. caramel sauce

Whip the cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl (or in your stand mixer) until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to overwhip!) Carefully drizzle caramel sauce over the whipped cream and sprinkle with salt. Fold in gently, just to incorporate the caramel. Spread onto pie, on top of caramel layer, then continue with instructions as written.

1 comment:

  1. Veronica - Have you read MAKING PIECE: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, LOSS AND PIE by Beth Howard? If even you DON'T love pie, you'll be craving lots of it as/after you read it. Check it out (if you have time in-between kids, writing and baking). ;) And thanks for coming up, and sharing, what looks like another masterpiece. I may have to try this one!