by Stephanie Zonis
So all ice cream pie is "kid stuff", eh? Not this! A chocolate wafer-semisweet chocolate-cinnamon crust is filled with a mixture of coffee ice cream, miniature chocolate chips, and crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans, and the whole is served with a bittersweet fudge sauce. If you have any sensitivity to caffeine, I implore you not to eat this late in the day, because it will keep you up for a long time (guess how I know?).
Now, having given you this adult pie filling, I must add that this is one of the most flexible recipes I know. If you have kids, omit the cinnamon, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and coffee ice cream, and fill the pie with a flavor they like—perhaps an ice cream with "add-ins" like a fudge swirl or cookie dough. Make the pie with two kinds of ice cream, one layered on top of another. Use sorbet or frozen yogurt for a filling, or combine a sorbet and an ice cream (how about a bottom layer of raspberry sorbet, perhaps with chocolate chips added, and a top layer of chocolate ice cream?). I'm sure you can see many possibilities here. You'll need a quart of ice cream, all told, and it is imperative that you use ice cream/frozen yogurt/sorbet of excellent quality. I like Ben & Jerry's and Haagen-Dazs for ice cream, and I have found that Starbucks makes an Italian Roast Coffee Ice Cream that is absolutely great. Although I love homemade ice cream, it isn't a good idea to use it here; it tends to freeze harder than commercial ice cream and would likely be difficult to cut and serve. Incidentally, this pie will keep for a week in the freezer, if tightly covered.
The inspiration for this pie crust came from a correspondent named Richard, who used to live in Boston. He called himself "Dr. Chocolate". Thank you, Richard...wherever you are. If you see this, drop me an e-mail.
Bittersweet Fudge Sauce:
8 ozs. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ozs. unsweetened chcolate, chopped
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Few grains salt
1 c. heavy cream
Optional when reheating: Vanilla extract or a liqueur that complements the pie filling
4-1/2 ozs. chocolate wafers, broken into pieces (I use Nabisco Famous brand, and this amount is half of a nine-ounce package. These wafers are usually found near the ice cream in a market.)
2 ozs. semisweet chocolate, chopped, OR 1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 to 1 c. miniature chocolate chips
1/2 c. chocolate-covered espresso beans, coarsely chopped or ground (I pulse them briefly in a food processor fitted with a steel blade)
1 qt. best-quality coffee ice cream
I make the sauce first, as it can be made several days in advance. To make it, combine chopped chocolates, light corn syrup, and salt in medium heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about half of hot cream into chocolate mixture.
Set bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Whisk chocolate mixture frequently until partially melted. Gradually add remaining cream, whisking gently until sauce is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Cool briefly, then chill until needed, covering tightly when cold.
For the crust: Preheat oven to 375F. Line a nine-inch heatproof glass pie plate with a 12" square of aluminum foil, shiny side up, making foil as smooth as possible. Fold any excess foil over pie plate edges.
In food processor fitted with steel blade, combine broken chocolate wafers and chopped chocolate (or chips). Process until both ingredients are finely ground. Turn into medium bowl. By hand, stir in cinnamon until well-mixed. Add melted butter and combine thoroughly. Turn into pie plate.
With fingers or back of spoon, pat about 2/3 of mixture onto foil-lined sides of pie plate. Form a high rim that extends slightly above edge of pie plate. Press remaining crumbs onto bottom to form an even layer; note that this is a thick crust.
Bake in preheated oven 6-7 minutes, or just until set. Cool at room temperature, then freeze for at least 1-1/2 hours. When frozen solid, remove from freezer. Working quickly, loosen any foil folded over edges of pie plate; remove whole crust, still in foil, from pie plate and place on flat surface. Gently peel foil from crust sides in small sections. Maneuver crust so that foil-covered bottom rests on one hand; with other hand, carefully remove foil from crust bottom, again in small pieces. Replace crust (now without foil) in pie plate; be careful here, but don't worry if a few small pieces of the top edges break off. Freeze until needed.
For filling: In large bowl, preferably of nonreactive metal, combine miniature chocolate chips and chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans. Stir well. Now, soften ice cream. Remove carton top (and plastic liner, if any). Microwave at 50 percent (medium) power for 10-20 seconds, just until ice cream is softened. Ice cream may begin to melt around carton edges—OK, but you don't want a lot of melting here. Note that your microwaving time may vary. Work quickly now. with a large spoon, scoop out chunks of the softened ice cream and place in the bowl with the chip-espresso bean mixture. with the large spoon, combine all ingredients, mixing only until thoroughly blended. Quickly remove crust (still in pie plate) from freezer. Turn filling into crust and spread as evenly as possible, compacting it slightly to prevent air pockets from forming. Immediately replace pie in freezer. Freeze about 3 hours, then cover tightly with foil. Freeze at least 3 more hours (6 hours total) before serving.
To serve: First, reheat the sauce, using only as much as you think you'll need (if sauce is repeatedly reheated and re-chilled, it may become grainy). Scrape cold sauce into heatproof bowl. Set bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); heat, stirring often, just until melted, smooth, and warm (sauce should not be hot).
Alternatively, scrape cold sauce into microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring well after each, just until melted and smooth. If desired, when sauce has been heated, add 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract or up to 2 Tbsp. Of a liqueur that complements the pie filling.
Remove pie from freezer. with large, heavy, sharp, serrated knife, cut pie into wedges of desired size. Place each wedge on individual serving plate. Drizzle a small amount of warm fudge sauce over each serving; pass more sauce so each person can pour it on as desired. Allow pie to stand about 3 minutes at room temperature before serving, just to warm slightly. Quickly re-freeze any remaining pie.
Makes 8-10 servings
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