This has a light, foamy texture and a great chocolate flavor with subtle coffee undertones: like an iced mocha latte in a crust, but more chocolaty. The crust and filling are prepared a day in advance and frozen, then topped and refrigerated. Just before serving, slice the frozen pie -- the colder it is, the better the slices will look -- and place the portions on plates for a few minutes so they are defrosted but still chilled.
To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
The filling contains raw eggs, which might be a health concern for some. To avoid risk, we used pasteurized eggs (Davidson's brand, available at Safeway and Harris Teeter), which worked fine.
- For the crust
- 25 (1 1/3 cups) thin chocolate wafer cookies, such as Nabisco Famous Wafers, ground finely in a food processor
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) margarine or unsalted butter . melted
- For the filling
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels (about 1 generous cup)
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglio d'Oro brand
- For the topping
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon strongly brewed coffee
- 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- 1 small block or bar of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, for garnish (optional)
For the crust: Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees.
Combine the cookie crumbs and the melted margarine or butter in a medium bowl until the crumbs are evenly moistened, then press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate (preferably Pyrex, for a nice presentation). Bake for 8 minutes, then let cool completely.
For the filling: Combine the chocolate morsels and water in a small heatproof bowl. Gently heat by suspending the bowl over a small saucepan of very hot water over medium heat. When the chocolate has melted, stir until it is smooth. Let cool slightly.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat for several minutes, until stiff peaks form. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine the cream and espresso powder in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat for several minutes or until stiff peaks form and the espresso powder is well incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat the egg yolks briefly to combine and add them gradually to the cooled chocolate until well incorporated and smooth.
Remove the egg whites and cream from the refrigerator. Gently fold the chocolate-egg mixture into the espresso whipped cream, then gently fold in the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the mixture. When the filling achieves a consistent color and texture, pour it into the crust, level it with a knife or spatula, and freeze at least overnight and up to 24 hours.
For the topping: About 3 hours before serving, combine the cream, coffee and sugar in a medium bowl; use a whisk or hand-held electric mixer to beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Spread on top of the pie and return to the refrigerator to set.
To make the garnish, if desired: Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to create shavings from the bar or block of chocolate. Sprinkle decoratively over the pie.
From Amy Turim.
Tested by Candy Sagon.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.