Just as the rest of the country is winding into fall, the Bay winds up for the sweetest indian summer. In this house, this is the time of year when the likelyhood of impromptu gatherings increases ten-fold. And when these gatherings pop into our days, recipes that I’ve been meaning to make for ages pop from my notebooks. Hence, this little icebox pie.
Bron and I sit across from each other 75% of our days and yet, our time to actually free-flow the conversation that we engage in over email, in the allusion of glance, and in passing is a rare occurrence. (Ah, to be a creative in an uncreative space.) So, her laundry night seemed like the perfect opportunity to tap out ideas, talk about life, eat something simple from the kitchen with the intention of making up for our light meal with an out of this world dessert.
Usually, I trend towards more simple treats – this one appears decadent and elaborate and is absolutely rich but really quite simple; I put it together in three separate 30 minute sessions – mix crust, melt ganache, and whip + torch meringue once we were ready to eat it. Admittedly, the most impressive part about the process was when I whipped out my little pastry torch and literally burned the pie to perfection….moments before we ate it. (Highly recommended if you can impact this portion!) So, when turning on the oven sounds torturous, and you’re hankering for a small slice of something unexpected. xo-L
- 9 organic whole grain graham crackers, ground
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp nutella
- 1 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1 Tbsp unsalted organic butter, melted
- 12 oz semi sweet chocolate (61%), chopped
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp ground espresso beans
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
- First, prepare the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the grahams, cream, nutella and melted chocolate and butter and pulse until well combined and sandy. Press into a 9" inch pie pan and place in the refrigerator to chill completely.
- While the crust chills, place the chocolate and butter in a large bowl. Set aside. Have cheesecloth or a fine sieve prepared.
- Bring the cream, ground coffee and 2 Tbsp water to simmer in a small pan over medium high heat. Once little bubbles start to appear around the edge of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover - allowing the coffee to steep the cream for 5 minutes.
- Place the cheesecloth or sieve over the bowl of chocolate and strain the cream into the bowl. The ambient heat of the cream will melt the chocolate and butter very nicely now. If you use a cheesecloth, squeeze the coffee grounds to get the last drops of lovely cream out before setting the grounds aside and stirring the chocolate, butter and warm cream until smooth. Once everything seems pretty well melted, I like to use an immersion blender to buzz the ganache to make sure that its lump free. Lastly, pour the ganache into the chilled crust; chill the pie at least one hour.
- Lastly, prepare the meringue. You're going to whisk or beat your whites in a bowl, and you must make sure that this bowl is absolutely free of any fat -- which means that if you get any yolks in the whites you'll need to use new, clean whites. (Your meringue won't peak unless it is absolutely fat-less!)
- Whip the whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and bring to firm peaks. Remove the pie from the fridge and spoon the meringue over the pie, maybe making some little spikes to make it more...edgy and scorched. Lastly, bring out your kitchen torch and toast the meringue - this not only makes the pie look fabulous but also adds a nice toasty flavor.
- Slice thinly (one little slice goes a LONG way!) and serve.