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Engineering in Chocolate
With it being a rather busy morning in the office today, I am afraid I was unable to engineer our normal Wednesday grill menu and instead, had to go out for a quick lunch. While I won’t be preparing anything in house, I do have a few recipes in my bag that I have become known for in my own little circle of friends. Today, I share the steps to creating a simple to make, yet somewhat decadent desert that I refer to as The Mocha Mousse Layered Pie.
Just about everybody I know that is not allergic to chocolate, does not seem to mind indulging in it when available. They also love a good coffee. The following recipe combines the coffee and chocolate and then stacks it on chocolate before finishing with with cream. This dessert is perfect for the warm days of summer to finish off the BBQ get together. It can be made ahead of time and kept cold until needed.
Chocolate Brownie Layer:
- 1 cup butter
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then line the bottom of a 6 inch spring form pan with wax paper. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly. Once melted, remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating them well after each egg, then mix in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together. By hand, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate until mixed well. Do not over mix the batter as less air in it will allow for a denser and more moist brownie. Spread out the batter in the prepared spring form pan.
Bake the brownie for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the brownie in the pan and let it cool completely before adding the mousse layer.
Our second layer to this desert is the mousse filling. The beauty of this chocolate mousse is that you do not have to be quite as delicate when making as this is incorporate with other layers and not being served as an individual desert. This is one time that the mousse does better having more density.
Simple Mocha Mousse Layer:
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 shot or 3 ounces of espresso
- 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (optional)
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
In a saucepan over low heat, cook the chocolate and espresso until melted while stirring constantly. This is where the thermal management comes into play as you do not want to cook the chocolate through. You just want to cook long enough to get a thin chocolate syrup. Cooking too little will leave it too dense and it will cool and harden to fast. Remove from heat, cool slightly and stir in the liqueur. Incorporate ¼ of the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix together. This will temper the egg mixture and keep them from scrambling when you return the mixture to the stove. Incorporate the egg and chocolate back into the sauce pan and return to the low heat, cooking for about 3 or 4 more minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
In a slightly chilled large stainless steel mixing bowl, beat heavy cream until it thickens. Add the sugar and continue to whip until peaks form in the cream. Fold the whipped cream mixture into the chocolate until completely incorporated.
Pour the chocolate into the cooled spring form pan over the brownie layer and spread out evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 1 ½ hours or until it sets up firm. If you try to freeze the pie, the brownie will have a tendancy to harden and the mousse will have more of an ice cream texture. When you are ready to serve, release the pie from the pan and decorate with whipped topping and chocolate sauce.
As with all recipes, please feel free to leave comments, questions or ideas on how to improve this recipe.