Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mississippi Mud Pie

Before we get into the chocolate decadence of this dessert, I have to say
that the name of this pie brings back childhood memories of learning how to spell Mississippi. I don't think I'll ever misspell that state name! Do you remember the sing-songy way we were taught how to spell it? M-i-ss-I(more emphasis)-s-s-I(more emphasis again)-p-p-i. Oh well I digress. Back to the make-up of this dark, muddy pie.
This long-standing dessert was conceived in the South and is supposed to mirror the muddy waters of the Mississippi Delta. I found this pie in my Newlyweds' Cookbook by Ryland, Peters and Small. I received this beautifully photographed book as a wedding present and have referred to it several times for party and entertaining ideas. This pie was surprisingly easy to make - and easy to make subsitutions for things I lacked in my pantry.
For example, I had to substitute about a cup of panko bread crumbs to make up for my lack of sufficient graham cracker crumbs. I also had to use semi-sweet chocolate rather than bittersweet - because again, it's all I had on hand and I was trying to get rid of some pantry items. Finally, I had to use all light brown sugar as I don't keep dark brown sugar on hand. I also threw in about a cup of shredded sweetened coconut that had to be used up as well. My substitutions and additions blended in beautifully and didn't alter the tastiness of this pie at all. So if you're looking for a fancy, rich and chocolatey dessert this Mississippi Mud Pie is sure to do the trick. Enjoy!

Mississippi Mud Pie

The Newlyweds' Cookbook

Cookie crumb base

8 oz graham crackers crushed to make about 2 2/3 cups crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Chocolate filling

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream

Grease a 9-in springform pan and set aside.

To make the base, put the crackers in a food processor and blend until fine crumbs form. Alternatively, put the crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a mixing bowl.

Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming, but not boiling water and melt gently (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Remove from the heat, stir gently, then stir into the cracker crumbs. When well mixed, transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and using the back of a spoon, press onto the base and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Chill in the refrigerator while making the filling.

To make the filling, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming but not boiling water and melt gently (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Remove from the heat and stir gently, then let cool.

Put the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using electric beaters or mixer, beat until thick and foamy. Beat in the cream followed by the melted chocolate. Pour the mixture into the cookie crust and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until just firm. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan. Serve the pie at room temperature. The pie can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept, well covered, in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

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