Tag Archives: chocolate

Week 7: Salted Caramel & Chocolate Pie

In looking for a way to combine two great flavors – rich dark chocolate and sweet caramel – the desire to create this pie was born. To step it up a couple more notches Oreo cookies and sea salt will complete the complex flavors of a pie that has a mere 6 ingredients.

7 ingredients

What’s easier than a pie that uses only a half dozen ingredients? The sheer simplicity of this pie nearly stumped the staff at 52WeeksofPie. Surely there must be more to it? This pie is just like Nickelback song lyrics: even simpler than you already thought.

Despite the relative shortage of elements that make up this concoction, this pie is long on flavor and depth. Check it out, you’ve got the Oreo cookie crust on the bottom. A layer of easy-to-make caramel sits atop the crust. You’ve got a layer of decadent dark chocolate on top of that. Finally, a dash of sea salt sprinkled across the top to really contrast those rich, sweet flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Oreo cookies (I used 30)
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt

First off, crush the Oreo cookies in a food processor. The Ninja worked well for this. Within 30 seconds most of the cookies were completely pulverized (a very underrated word, BTW). A few more quick zaps with the power button and everything looked like finely ground sandwich cookie. After melting one stick of butter, mix it in with the cookies. 7 mixture

Stir it up real good and then press it into your pie pan. I used a sheet of wax paper to press the cookie/butter mixture into the pie plate uniformly throughout. If you like a thicker crust, use the whole container of Oreos. If you prefer a thinner crust (really?) then use less. Once your crust is ready, pop that pie plate into the freezer while you prepare the filling.

7 pan

The caramel layer is ridiculously easy. Did you know caramel can be made with brown sugar, cream, and butter? Yep! It’s easy. Melt the other stick of butter and the 2/3 cup of brown sugar in a sauce pan, whisking throughout the entire time. Eventually it will start to boil. Let it bubble for a minute and then whisk in 1/4 cup of whipping cream. 7 mix 2

When you get a nice smooth mixture, remove it from the heat and let it cool. About 15 minutes later, pour it onto your cookie crust and then pop it back into the freezer to help the caramel firm up.

7 caramel

You want to leave it in long enough to gel but not freeze – about 30 minutes, long enough to watch an episode of Archer – 22 minutes if you have it on the DVR and fast-forward through commercials – and get your chocolate layer ready.

Pour the dark chocolate chips into a bowl, then bring 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer on the stove. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for about five minutes then whisk until it’s all combined, nice and smooth.7 choo mix

Remove the pie from the freezer and pour the chocolate over the caramel layer. Use a spatula to smooth out the top and then return it back to the freezer for at least another 30 minutes. Let your favorite nearby person lick the remaining chocolate off the beater. They will love you for it.

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Before serving, I sprinkled sea salt across the top. It definitely helps give it more complexity in flavor but also helps the aesthetics with the contrast of white against dark chocolate.    7 fin

Lots of good stuff in there! Warning, it’s rich!

7 close

The taste testers loved it! One called it the best pie yet! Like I said, it is rich. You’ll want to cut thinner slices than most other pies. Also, the cookie crust did stick to the pie pan more than I wished. Not sure if I should have greased it or if that was a result of the freezing. One taster did not like the addition of the salt but that’s an easy omission if need be.

Overall, easy to prepare and well received treat tat can be made well ahead of time for a gathering. Hope you like it!

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Week 5: Chocolate Cream Pie

This week I was looking to make a well-balanced chocolate pie. I had a couple requests from taste testers for something chocolate. While the staff at 52 Weeks of Pie isn’t keen on taking requests, it seemed like the right time to dive into this one.

The idea here would be to make a chocolate filling with flavor somewhere between a melted candy bar and a milkshake served on a cookie crust with a freshly whipped topping. Lots of opportunity to screw this one up! Let’s see how it worked out…

5 ingred

INGREDIENTS

         Cookie Crust
  • 16 Oreo cookies
  • 2 tablespoons butter – melted and cooled
    Chocolate Cream Filling
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg yolks a
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The crust was pretty simple. I pulverized the cookies in a Ninja food processor. I used Double Stuf Oreo brand cookies. I know there are some people who don’t like the Double Stuf, preferring a thin, single layer of white cream filling. These people generally are joy-less souls, stubbornly refusing to partake in the extra – the “Double” – layer of white cream filling, and, by extension, the fine extras in life in general. Avoid these people.

I took the pulverized granular mix and added the melted butter and then stirred it up, mixing thoroughly. I pressed this into my pie pan and then put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to help it keep shape before popping it into the oven for 10 minutes.

5 crust mix5 crust

While the crust was baking, I moved on to the filling prep. Bring the half-and-half, salt, and about 3 tablespoons of sugar to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch in small bowl, then sprinkle over your yolks and whisk until mixture is glossy and sugar has begun to dissolve.

5 eggs
Whisking the eggs with corn starch and sugar
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Looking for a glossy mixture
5 egg
A suicidal casualty

When the half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, drizzle about 1/2 cup hot half-and-half over yolks, whisking constantly. Then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the simmering half-and-half (the mixture should thicken in about 30 seconds). I learned this technique from a cooking show a while back. Rather than just pouring the yolks directly into the hot saucepan, this method will temper the mixture and avoid scrambling your eggs. After you do this, return the pot to a simmer, whisking constantly, until bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy.

Remove this mixture from the heat, add your butter, vanilla and chocolate until it all melts. I used a spatula to make sure none of the chocolate was sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan. It took longer than I expected to melt the chocolate thoroughly and it didn’t look as dark as expected. I poured this into my cooled crust and stuck the pie in the fridge for about 3 hours.

5 choco5 pie fin

When the tasters were assembled and ready, the whipped cream topping was prepared. The ingredients for this were thrown into a high bowl and beaten like they owed us money, until the mix was seemingly frothy and thick. In reality, the whipped topping wasn’t as firm as we wanted but further whipping would have just made it completely flat.

While the flavor was a hit with all the taste testers, the visual of the pie was not great. The whole thing seemed a bit flat and liquid-y. I think I might have mis-measured the butter, using 4 tablespoons instead of 6 in the filling. Would that make it runnier? There was no way a picture was going to work well but we did our best. The Oreo cookie crust was complimented as a highlight, furthering the theory that anything short of a Double-Stuf Oreo is just wasting everyone’s time.

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