Monday, April 28, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Mocha Cream Pie

Baking for someone can sometimes be as tricky as buying them a present, in that it's hard to know what they really want.  And all they can offer you is that they'll love whatever you give them.  So when one of my coworkers announced that he was going to leave, I had to do some thinking to figure out what kind of dessert to bring to his going-away lunch.  Because obviously I was going to bring something.

The only hint I had as far as flavors was that he had headed straight for some java chip cookies at a recent event where we had all been lured in with cookies in exchange for participation.  So I knew that I needed some kind of coffee buzz.  And then, because it was a lunch event rather than the usual coffee klatch, I decided that it was the perfect time to whip up a pie.  People would already have their own plates and forks, so all I needed was the pie and a server.

From there, I took inspiration from a couple of places, like the Kraft recipe for Fudge-Bottom Candy Crunch Pie and Cupcake Project's How to Bake with Coffee post.  After putting various ideas together and playing around with what I had in my pantry, I ended up with something unique.  It's a give and take of shortcuts (pudding mix, pre made pie crust) and techniques that make it special (steeping the coffee beans, whipping the cream).  And adding a bar of chocolate never hurts.

I wouldn't want to send anyone away from the team hungry, after all.

Mocha Cream Pie
Makes 1 pie

  • 1 prepared pie crust, cooled*
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 cup coffee beans (not ground)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 4-serving package of non-instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 bar Chocolove Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate, chopped and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Tablespoons powdered cappuccino mix

* You can use your favorite recipe, buy the crust to roll or already in the shell (mine was in the shell).  You could also substitute a graham cracker or cookie crumb crust if desired.

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and whole coffee beans.  Over a medium heat, bring to a simmer.  Then turn off the heat, cover, and allow beans to steep in the milk for about 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the milk, discarding the coffee beans and returning the milk to the saucepan.  Put the heat back on low.  Add the instant coffee and pudding mix, stirring.  
  3. When the pudding is thick, add about 2/3 of the chopped chocolate bar to the pan and stir until the chocolate has melted.
  4. Pour the pudding mixture into the pie shell and allow to cool.  Place in the fridge to set for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Soon before serving, pour the whipping cream into a bowl with the cappuccino mix and beat until soft peaks form.  
  6. Cover the pie with the cream, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate on top as a garnish. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.

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