This is the pie that launched my career as a pastry chef. It still can be found, in a similar version, on the menu at Mecklenburg Gardens. It’s a variation of a pie made famous at Blum’s, a San Francisco sandwich and sweet shop that closed in the 1960s. Though the preparation appears rather lengthy (it is made overnight in two steps), most people claim it’s similar to giving birth: After one bite, all memory of the long passage is erased, and they’re ready to do it again. This pie is wonderful year-round, but one note of caution: Unless you keep your kitchen extra chilly, I don’t recommend attempting this pie on a hot, humid summer day. That’s what blueberries are for.
Chocolate Pecan Crust 1 cup of pie crust mix (I use my own, but a box of JIFFY Pie Crust Mix works fine) 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1 cup chopped pecans scant 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine 1 Tablespoon water 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. In bowl, combine dry ingredients, add water and vanilla, and mix until it just comes together. Press into bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake 12–14 minutes. Cool.
Mocha Cream Filling 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 ounce of bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled 2 teaspoons instant espresso 2 eggs
In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, gradually adding sugar. Blend in cooled melted chocolate and espresso powder. Add one egg; beat 5 minutes. Do not rush. This gives the filling a creamy, light consistency. Add the other egg; beat another 5 minutes. Again, do not rush. Turn filling into cooled shell. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Coffee Whipped Cream 2 cups heavy cream 2 Tablespoons instant espresso 1/2 cup confectioner’s (10x) sugar 3–4 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, room temperature
Combine cream with instant espresso powder and sugar. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Next day, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Pile cream on top of mocha cream filling. With a vegetable peeler, shave large curls of semi-sweet chocolate and drop over the coffee cream until covered as desired. Keep pie chilled until ready to serve.
Originally published in the November 2008 issue. Photograph by Nathan Kirkman
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