Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

I'm not quite sure where to start with this pie. When I first saw it and read the recipe, I knew I had to make it. It went on the menu for Thanksgiving. It goes together pretty easily, and can definitely be made the day before, to help cut down on day-of activity. I have a few complaints, though:

  1. It calls itself a mousse, but it's not. Mousse tends to use either no eggs or uses just egg whites (which is how it gets so fluffy). This recipe uses just egg yolks, which makes it more like a custard. I wasn't expecting it to be so heavy.
  2. The crust doesn't stay together very well. However, the last time or two that I made a graham cracker crust (instead of use a pre-made one), it also didn't stay together super well, so I think it may just be me. The chocolate layer in this pie actually helped out a little bit.
  3. It was too rich. It was just way too rich. Like, it hurt my throat. The second time I ate it. I gave myself a piece that was no more than an inch wide at the outside, and that was definitely at the upper limit of what I could handle already (and I'm not a dessert wuss).

Personally, I would probably give this recipe two stars, but my husband loved it and ate at least half of the pie himself.

Decadent Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Pie (original recipe here)

Graham Cracker Crust:
12 to 14 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Dark Chocolate Layer:
¾ cup heavy cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Peanut Butter Mousse Filling:
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

Topping and Decoration:
Sweetened whipped cream
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter, stir until well blended. Using the palm of your hand, press the moistened crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Bake in the center of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust turns lightly golden. Set the pie crust on a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the chocolate layer: In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust, smoothing it over the bottom and slightly up the sides. Freeze for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is firm.

Prepare the mousse: In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add ½ cup milk and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until the custard comes to a boil. Still whisking, boil for 1 minute until very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanut butter. Pour the mousse into the baked pie crust. Chill for 1 hour, or until firm. Before serving, decorate the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and mini chocolate chips, if desired.

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