The Hungry Engineer

Chocolate Mousse Pie

27 Oct 2008

The movie choice for the October edition of the movie food project was actually sort of an accident. My husband and I just happened to be flipping stations and caught it on cable a few weeks ago. October’s movie is Waitress, and from a culinary point of view, Waitress is all about pies.

Jenna (played by Keri Russell) is a small town waitress stuck in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man named Earl who treats her more like a pet than a wife. She happens to have a gift for pie making, and her pies are featured prominently at the pie shop where she waitresses. Though she has plans of escaping her prison of a marriage (via an out of town pie contest with the chance of big prize money), those plans are placed in peril when she finds herself regrettably pregnant. Life seems to be falling apart around her until she meets her new doctor, Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion - you know, the Firefly guy), with whom she falls quickly into an illicit love affair, despite her good intentions to the contrary.

chocolate mousse pie

This movie might be a bit sickeningly sweet (for my taste at least) were it not tempered with a fair amount of sass (a good dose of which is provided by Andy Griffith as Old Joe, the owner of the diner). As one might expect, Jenna is struggling with her feelings about the good doctor and the baby rapidly growing inside her, and her thoughts and self-image (and her charming sauciness) come forth in her pies – particularly in the pie naming. There’s the “Pregnant Self-Pitying Loser Pie”. And naturally, she whips up some “Earl Murders me Because I’m Having an Affair Pie”. But the one that sounded best to me (particularly when considering my chocolate-loving freak of a husband) was the “Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie” that Jenna makes for one of her fellow waitresses to take with her as she embarks on a blind date. Just like falling in love, it’s light and sweet yet richly flavored with dark chocolate – it fills you up, but leaves you wanting more. The movie was non-specific about recipes or methodologies in most cases, so please do realize, this is simply one woman’s interpretation. That said, I think you’ll find, it’s a good one.

chocolate mousse pie slice

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 ½ c crushed graham crackers
¼ c sugar
5 T butter, melted
Combine the cracker crumbs and the sugar in a bowl. Dump melted butter on top of crumb mixture and work in with a fork. When you’re finished, you should have all the crumbs moistened and small buttery clumps formed.

Dump this into a 9" pie plate and use a spoon or measuring cup to mash the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and sides of pie plate, working to achieve a roughly consistent thickness. It is not necessary to bake this pie crust, however, I like the flavor a bit of baking adds, so I stick it in a 350 degree (F) oven for about 10 minutes and then set it on the counter to cool while making the filling.

Chocolate Mousse (_adapted from Julia Child’s recipe_):
8 oz bittersweet / dark chocolate (I used Caro dark chocolate which has a 68% cacao content)
6 T unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, well-chilled
3 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
Chop up the chocolate into chunks and dump that into a heat-resistant bowl with the butter. Place this over a small pot of boiling water and carefully whisk the chocolate and butter mixture until they’re both melted and well combined. Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool slightly. Carefully whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, making sure they’re each fully integrated before adding the next.

Next, in a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream just until soft peaks form. Place this into the refrigerator till ready to use.

Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Then while still beating, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat the mixture until it’s shiny and stiff peaks form.

To combine the chocolate and the egg whites, first lighten the chocolate mixture by taking roughly a rubber spatula full of egg white mixture (about ¼ of the egg whites) and stirring it into the chocolate. Pour the chocolate mixture into the dent left by your rubber spatula and carefully fold the chocolate into the whites. When it’s mostly combined, take the whipped cream from the refrigerator and fold that in as well.


It may see a bit obvious at this point, but I’m going to tell you anyway for the sake of completeness. Carefully spoon the chocolate mousse into the graham cracker pie crust, cover loosely, and chill for a couple hours. You can serve the pie as is or gild the lily with some additional whipped cream.

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