It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s me, The Amateur Gourmet, blogging to you live from Delta flight 2243, en route to Atlanta, Georgia.
Yes, this is an absolute first for me, my first blog post written from a plane. And I choose, as my subject matter, a dessert that I made back in December, before it got wicked cold out. And it’s a cold dessert so you might be thinking: why would we eat something from the freezer when it’s 0 degrees on the thermometer? Patience, people, I have my reasons.
Presumably, if you serve this dessert at a wintery dinner party with lots of cold-weather food–soup, polenta, a falling-apart brisket–your guests might require a course to transition them back to the frosty world they’re about to reeenter when you shove them out the door. That’s reason #1 to make this MIssissippi Mud Pie.
Reason #2: this is an AMAZING recipe from the new book from my friends Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito. The book is Baked Explorations and this recipe is one of two Mississippi Mud Pies in the book (the other has more of a chocolate pudding filling.)
This filling is made with coffee ice cream that you soften a bit before working it into a pie crust made with pulverized chocolate wafers and butter and covered in a layer of Bourbon-infused fudge. On the top you drizzle another layer of fudge and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a dessert even a polar bear wouldn’t refuse. As it was, I served it to my friend Mark on his birthday:
Mark’s been having a pretty great year; his screenplay for “Black Swan” earned him a Critic’s Choice Award nomination and the movie itself couldn’t be doing better (it’s grossed over $61 million so far.) Plus, my parents saw it yesterday, and they really liked it too.
So, as you plan your next dinner party this chilly, chilly season, consider this chilly dessert. The best part is you can make it ahead, cover it in plastic wrap, and it lasts a good while in the freezer. Even after an hour of trudging through the snow, you won’t be able to refuse a slice.
Mississippi Mud Pie
from Baked Explorations
by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
For the chocolate cookie crust:
30 chocolate wafer cookies, about 6 ounces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick), unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Kentucky Bourbon
1 pint good-quality coffee ice cream
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
For the Bourbon Fudge Topping
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 ounces good quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%)
1 teaspoon Kentucky bourbon
Yield: one 9-inch pie.
Make the chocolate cookie crust:
In a food processor, pulverize the wafer cookies into a very fine crumb.
You should have about 1 1/2 cups. Place the crumbs into a bowl, add the sugar, and stir until combined.
Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix well. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press it into the bottom and up the sides. Use the back of a large spoon to get an even crust. Set the crust aside in the refrigerator.
Make the filling:
Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, butter, and corn syrup to a simmer. Remove the mixture from the heat, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute.
Then whisk the chocolate mixture until it is completely smooth. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and bourbon. [I had a special helper measuring out the confectioner’s sugar, Craig’s sister Kristin….]
Spread the fudge evenly over the bottom of the pie crust…
…cover it and refrigerate for 2 hours. This is what it looks like when it comes out 2 hours later:
Soften coffee ice cream by placing the container in the microwave for 10 seconds on high.
[I don’t have a microwave, so I just let it sit out for 10 minutes or so.]
Put it into a large bowl and use a rubber spatula to beat it until it is slightly malleable. Spread the ice cream over the chilled fudge filling…
…sprinkle it with pecans, gently pressing them into the ice cream…
…and freeze the pie for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the ice cream is firm.
[Note: I did all this the day before the dinner party. Then I did the final step hours before the guests came.]
Make the Bourbon Fudge Topping:
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the cream, butter, and corn syrup together until the mixture begins to simmer.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until the fudge is smooth–if you still have a few stray chocolate chunks, reheat the mixture over very low heat until they are completely melted. Stir in the bourbon.
Beat the fudge topping until it reaches room temperature, and pour it over the ice cream and pecan layer in a zigzag pattern.
Freeze the Mississipi Mud Pie until it is set, about 20 minutes. To serve the pie, cut it with a warmed sharp knife.
The pie will keep in the freezer, tightly covered, for up to 4 days. These leftovers didn’t last long: