Friday, October 17, 2008
Dark Chocolate Anniversary Pie
For our recent anniversary I wanted to surprise my husband with a chocolate cake that was truly decadent – something rich, creamy and extremely sweet. Without question the most devoted chocoholic I know, H is especially fond of the bittersweet dark flavors (while I prefer milk chocolate). It was important to me to create something that would top his best experiences with chocolate desserts – and yet still be gluten free so that we could share our anniversary dessert together. And since – unlike me - he is not much of an agave nectar fan, I knew I needed to use a different sweetener. In short, there was a lot of adaptation – and slightly pricey thanks to the fancy chocolate – but H is most definitely worth it!
The original recipe for this pie comes from the Flavors of Bon Appetit 2007, and I have adapted it to be gluten and sugar free. I also converted it from a cake into a pie, since we are big pie fans around our house. I hope you will enjoy this dark chocolate anniversary pie, and that you too will have someone special to share it with on a magical night.
What You’ll Need:
For the filling...
9 oz of 70% bittersweet chocolate – broken into small pieces
(I used Scharffen Berger)
Four 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1 ¼ cups Z sweet
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
4 large eggs
For the Crust...
24 gluten free chocolate wafer cookies
1 tablespoon of Z sweet
¼ cup melted butter
For the Topping...
6 oz (2 bars) of 70% bittersweet chocolate – broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon of Z sweet
¾ cup of whipping cream
How It Works:
As you know I prefer to get all of my ingredients ready before starting to cook, so that I don’t run into time pressure while putting a meal together. I would suggest chopping or breaking up your chocolate bars (in two separate bowls – one for filling, one for topping) before doing anything else. Also have your other ingredients, measuring spoons and cups handy plus all pans and stirring rods.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large glass pie pan with butter to prepare it. Next, use a food processor or heavy mixer to mash up your gluten free wafer cookies into a fine floury consistency.
Add Z-sweet and melted butter. Continue processing or mixing until fully blended. Use your hands to coat the pie pan with the delicious wafer crust mixture until you have formed a shapely crust. It should be about ½ inch in thickness throughout the entire pan. Place your pie crust in the oven and bake for 5 minutes until it sets together. Remove pan from oven and set aside, but keep the oven on (same temperature).
Place a metal bowl over a saucepan full of water, and simmer the water at a medium temperature. Fill the metal bowl with the chocolate pieces for your filling, and use a wooden spoon to stir it slowly until all of the chocolate has melted and is smooth and creamy. Remove the bowl from the pan of hot water, and allow your chocolate to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, using your food processor or heavy mixer, blend together the cream cheese, Z-sweet and Ghirardelli cocoa powder until it is smooth. Add eggs and blend them in one at a time. Add the lukewarm chocolate. Mix all together until your filling is completely combined – it will be thick and creamy but the color of coffee ice cream.
Pour your filling into the wafer cookie crust and smooth the top with a plastic scraper. If you are concerned about your crust burning at all, cover the crusts with tin foil until the last ten minutes (leaving the center of the pie uncovered the entire time). Bake the pie until its center is firm and just appears dry – between 40 minutes and 1 hour depending on how hot your oven tends to run. Check it periodically during this time to make certain your crust does not burn. My oven runs very hot so by 40 minutes, it was ready to remove. Allow your dark chocolate pie to sit until the pan is cool enough to put in the refrigerator – then cover it and place it in your refrigerator to chill overnight (or all day, if you make it first thing in the morning.)
Lastly, to make the topping you will pour the whipping cream, Z-sweet and 6 oz of remaining dark chocolate (chopped or broken) into a small saucepan and stir it over low heat until it is smooth. Cool the mixture for a minute or so and then pour it over the center of your pie, spreading it with a scraper or spoon all the way to the edge of the crust. Chill your pie again for at least one hour, until the topping has chilled and set.
For a fancy presentation, top your slice of pie with fluffy whipped cream or a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. You will need a sharp knife to cut through the gf wafer cookie crust without it crumbling, but it is oh so worth it!
The verdict: My husband said it was one of the best chocolate pies he had ever tasted. I myself thought it was a little too bitter, and when I make it again in the future I think I might opt to use milk chocolate or at least something slightly less dark. H laughs at me and tells me that is the difference between a true lover of dark chocolate… and one who does not really appreciate its virtues. He really loved the pie and has eaten at least one piece each night this week.
Serves 8 – 10 (very rich)