Chitlins, let me tell you a story. It goes like this: When I was younger my uncle got remarried, and I wasn’t totally stoked on the idea. I don’t know why, there was no reason to be upset about it. I just decided I was going to hold a grudge, because I was a snotty teenager.
I begrudgingly met his new wife at some family function and of course she’s as sweet as pie. Then she whips out two beautiful pies. A chocolate mousse and a lemon meringue. I overheard through other people talking that she actually made from scratch these two pies that were picture perfect. I was skeptical.
Then I tasted these pies. And thus began my decade and half obsession with chocolate mousse pie. Oh and obviously I couldn’t dislike her now. The woman made a killer pie.
It wasn’t until about a year ago, when we met up at another family function that I thought to ask for her recipe. We talked pie crust (how it terrifies me, but she swears by her recipe) and traditional mousse filling. And then she emailed me the recipe. And then I lost it.
I mean, I didn’t really lose it. It’s buried in my inbox somewhere and I just haven’t found the right keywords to search for it. And I’m obviously too proud to ask for it again, because that makes me look careless. For the record, I’m not careless. I’m just clumsy.
Anyway. This mousse comes pretty damn close to her recipe. So for now, it’ll have to do.
*Just a Note: The original recipe I believe calls for either Cointreau or brandy. I used Cointreau but with reservations. I’m really not a fan of orange flavored chocolate. I don’t know why. I’m making this again on Friday for a party and will be using bourbon instead, like I originally intended. I will report back. FYI this also uses “raw” eggs. The yolks are slightly cooked but if this makes you at all queasy then I wouldn’t make this recipe. But it’s a classic chocolate mousse, and I will say it didn’t kill anyone at Thanksgiving, or make them sick.
Chocolate Mousse Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it (barely) from Gourmet
4 oz milk chocolate (I use the bars from Trader Joe’s which are only 3.5, so I just added 1/2 oz of bittersweet)
4 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp Cointreau
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 pre-baked pie shell, cooled to room temperature (8 or 9 inch)
In a double boiler melt chocolate and butter until smooth and glossy. Meanwhile, whip the egg yolks with a pinch of salt until thick and frothy. You will know they’re done when you pull the beater out and the ribbon doesn’t immediately disappear into the mass, about 2-4 minutes.
Whisk the yolk sand Cointreau into the hot chocolate mixture. Be sure to whisk constantly and slowly add the yolks to prevent scrambling. Let mixture cool til warm. (To speed up this process I transfer the chocolate mixture to another cold bowl).
While mixture is cooling whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. With clean beaters, in a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Do not over-whip or they will be too difficult to fold in.
When the chocolate mixture has cooled, fold the heavy cream in, work in 2-3 batches, and folding just until incorporated. Then fold in the egg whites, working in 2 batches and again folding just until no streaks remain. Mousse will be like a really thick custard or pudding at this point and a look a little shiny.
Pour mousse into pre-baked, cooled pie shell and carefully smooth. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, until set. The mousse will thicken up considerable during this time and develop those traditional thick, creamy, airy mousse qualities.
Before serving top mousse with whipped cream (I like to whip heavy cream with 3-4 tbsps sugar and 1-2 tsp vanilla). Serve chilled.