Five years ago this month, I joined a preschool co-op with my older son Graham. He was 11 months old at the time. I had been told, by multiple friends, that co-op was the way to go. Not so much for the children but for the community with other moms. To all my friends who made this recommendation – thank you. I now have lifelong friends because of the time we spent at that co-op.
We were extremely lucky to end up in a wonderful class. Sometimes groups of people just gel and ours certainly did. Most of us were new moms and we were all struggling through the same issues. The group provided tremendous support and we actually really bonded through food. The class met from 11am – 1pm once a week and we took turns bringing lunch. I think the original intent was to provide food for the kids but it quickly morphed into a full blown lunch for the mommies as well. (I wonder if I had anything to do with that…)
We were only in that co-op for two years but a small group of us still gets together on a regular basis. We usually go out for dinner and sometimes we allow the husbands to come along with us. Last week met up at someone’s house and the timing happened to coincide with our friend Kimrick’s birthday. When I asked her what kind of dessert she wanted she said chocolate. That’s my girl.
Because I had just made a cake, I opted to go the tart route this time. This one features a chocolate cookie crust, a chocolate pudding middle, and a crème fraîche whipped top. The only slightly negative thing I can say about his magical creation is that it isn’t all that easy to cut. There are worse problems to have. I’m a sucker for a chocolate cookie crust – even though it is nothing but chocolate wafers, sugar, and butter. But the star here is the pudding. As I was making it, I remembered the snack packs my mom used to put in my school lunch box. I thought that chocolate pudding was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. I’m still a sucker for chocolate pudding especially with a topping as decadent as this one.
One Year Ago: Asian Coconut Noodle Soup
Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Pie with Crème Fraîche Topping
Adapted from Bon Appétit
For some reason, those chocolate cookie wafers can be hard to find. I have successfully used the Whole Foods brand of chocolate cookie grahams.
1 cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about half of one 9-ounce package, finely ground in processor)
2 tbsp. sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1¾ cups whole milk, divided
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp. dark rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chilled crème fraîche
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Bittersweet chocolate curls or chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Blend cookie crumbs and sugar in processor. Add melted butter; process until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides (not rim) of 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake until crust begins to set and no longer looks moist, pressing gently with back of fork if crust puss, about 12 minutes. Remove crust from oven, then sprinkle chopped chocolate over bottom of crust. Let stand until chocolate softens, 1 to 2 minutes. Using offset spatula or small rubber spatula, spread chocolate over bottom and up sides of crust to cover. Chill crust until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt to blend in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually add 1/3 cup milk, whisking until smooth paste forms. Whisk in remaining milk, then ¼ cup cream. Using flat-bottom wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, stir mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping bottom and sides of pan until pudding thickens and begins to bubble at edges, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in rum and vanilla. Pour hot pudding into crust and spread evenly. Cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl just until stiff peaks form and mixture is thick enough to spread (do not overbeat or mixture may curdle). Spread topping decoratively over top of pie, swirling to create peaks, if desired. (Can be made 6 hours head. Cover with cake dome (DT: or foil) and refrigerate.)
Sprinkle chocolate shavings or sprinkles decoratively atop pie.