Happy Mardi Gras! Today I have an indulgent and rich Cafe au Lait Pie, recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour. While I didn’t nail the technique 100% in my layering, it was still delicious. I think my mistake might have been not letting the chocolate filling cool long enough. Lesson learned!
Cafe au Lait Pie
Makes one deep dish pie, 8 to 10 servings
- one pie crust, preferably deep dish; must be at least 1 1/4″ deep
- Chocolate filling
- 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
- Vanilla filling
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup whipping or heavy cream
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 large egg yolks, whites reserved for topping
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Espresso topping
- 3 large egg whites, reserved from filling
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the pie crust and fit it into a 9″ pie pan that’s at least 1 1/4″ deep. Give the crust a tall, crimped edge. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the fillings.
- To make the chocolate filling: Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat till the cream begins to steam and bubble.
- Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and spread the chocolate in the bottom. Return to the refrigerator.
- To make the vanilla filling: Whisk together the salt, sugar, cornmeal, and cornstarch.
- Whisk in the cream and vanilla, stirring till smooth.
- Add the lightly beaten eggs and yolks, mixing till thoroughly combined.
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and set it on a baking sheet. Carefully pour the vanilla filling atop the chocolate filling.
- Bake the pie for 20 minutes, and cover the crust with a crust shield, or strips of aluminum foil. Continue to bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are fairly set. The middle won’t be set, but should read at least 175°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- About 10 minutes before the pie is finished baking, prepare the meringue. Place the 3 egg whites in a large bowl.
- Beat the whites at high speed, preferably with your mixer’s whisk attachment, till they’re beginning to foam.
- Add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until the mixture is opaque and “creamy” looking.
- Sprinkle in the sugar while continuing to beat. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Combine the espresso powder and water, stirring to dissolve the powder. Add it to the meringue, stirring till thoroughly combined.
- Remove the pie from the oven. Carefully spread the meringue on top. Dollop some atop the center, and VERY gently spread it around; since the center is still so soft, you have to be gentle. Then spread the meringue around the firmer outside, going all the way to the edges, so it actually touches the crust.
- Return the pie to the oven, and continue to bake till the meringue is a very light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the pie from the oven, and cool completely (at least 5 to 6 hours) before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.