Remember Sonny the crazed Cuckoo Bird who was “Cuckoo for Coco Puffs”!? That phrase captures the essence of my love for chocolate. I have an obsessive-compulsive relationship with chocolate. Cravings for chocolate are relentless, gripping sensations. I cannot take my mind off it or satisfy it with something else. It’s CHOCOLATE, c’mon! There is nothing like it. In conversations about chocolate, you do not find many people who simply “like” chocolate or who “occasionally partake” in the eating of chocolate. We assume that everyone loves chocolate; it is just a matter of what type.
Finding and securing chocolate is a holy mission, thus the world smiled as I made this pie. I turned to one of my new favorite cookbooks, Bon Appetit 2004, for the recipe. I carefully patted down the foundation of salty, chocolate graham crackers. Then I poured a silky, custard-like pudding filling into the basin of the crust. The near-black colored chocolate formed soft folds in the pan. It tasted like virgin chocolate, deeply smooth; seemingly untouched and untainted by both man and excessive sugar.
I served it chilled, with a dollop of cappuccino cream on top. At first, the pie was creamy and rich. Each bite brought a comfortable feeling, almost as if it was warm. Then the airiness of the cream cut the initial heaviness. The pie began to float and fade elegantly on my tongue. My overwhelming desire was not to greedily devour every last bit immediately, but rather to reflect and return to this blissful pie later. A pie of this caliber demands reverence. They say the greatest sign of respect for a dish is licking the plate clean. I would not put it past me.
Triple-Chocolate Pudding Pie with Cappuccino Cream
9 whole chocolate graham crackers
1 stick salted butter, melted
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
3 ½ cups half and half
4 large egg yolks
3 ½ oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 T salted butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar
1 ½ t finely ground coffee
½ t vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Finely grind graham crackers in food processors. Add butter and blend to moisten crumbs. [I just used a rolling pin to crush them up very finely and added butter. Didn’t work great, but worked.]
3. Firmly press mixture into a 9 inch diameter pie dish.
4. Bake until crust sets, about 15 min. Cool.
5. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan.
6. Gradually whisk in 1 cup half and half. Whisk in remaining 2 ½ cups half and half and yolks.
7. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils, whisking constantly, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
8. Add both chocolates and butter; whisk until melted and smooth.
9. Add vanilla.
10. Transfer filling to crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of filling and chill until filling sets, about 6 hours.
11. Meanwhile, beat topping ingredients in large bowl until peaks form. Rewhisk to thicken when ready to use.