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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pecan Caramel Mousse Pie

I had a fairly mediocre mousse at an event last week and had been craving a much more chocolatey version. And, since I was already kicking it up a notch, I decided to go whole hog and added a pecan caramel layer.

For the chocolate mousse
One 16-ounce package bittersweet chocolate chips

4 large egg yolks

6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

6 large egg whites

4 teaspoons warm water

For the pecan-caramel layer
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

Pinch salt

1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream, divided

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecan halves

Store bought Oreo cookie pie crust 

Make the mousse
1. Place half of the chocolate into the dry bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the remaining chocolate through the food tube and process until the chocolate is ground to small beads. Add the egg yolks and process 5 seconds, or until blended.
2. Heat the coffee, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering. With the processor running, pour the hot coffee mixture through the food tube. Stop the machine to scrape the sides and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine the egg whites and water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until the whites are whipped to firm peaks. With a large spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and pour into the pie crust. Refrigerate until almost set, about 30 minutes.

Make the pecan-caramel layer
1. Put the chopped pecans into a bowl. Heat the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small heavy saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add the cream, stirring constantly. Heat to boil and simmer until the caramel thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Pour the caramel over the chopped pecans; mix and then immediately pour over the cooled mousse. Refrigerate for several hours, until firmly set.

There will be extra mousse as the recipe was originally designed to be used in a 10 inch spring form pan. I usually fill several tumblers and cover with plastic wrap for snacks throughout the week.

Note: To adultify this recipe, substitute 2 T of Amaretto for 2 T coffee. Add the liquor after you've poured the coffee mixture into the chocolate.

Further Note: This freezes beautifully, well wrapped. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.