- 1¾ cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (from about 9 ounces of cookies)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups cold heavy cream
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, freshly melted
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
This pie is incredibly easy to make — and a crowd-pleasing showstopper at that. The ease starts with a foolproof cookie-crumb crust, which takes just a few minutes to prepare, and a short bake in the oven. The filling is the simplest kind of mousse — it’s made by adding melted chocolate into light and airy whipped cream, which creates that signature light-as-air texture. But this pie boasts a secret ingredient — cream cheese — which acts as a natural stabilizer to this pie. Mousse is usually quite delicate but the inclusion of cream cheese means that this pie will be easy to bring on-the-go to a potluck, a picnic or anywhere you might want to serve a towering chocolate pie. The filling is also set in the refrigerator, which means it doesn’t require any baking and is extra-friendly for when you don’t feel like turning the oven on for long.
Technique Tip: Be sure to use just freshly melted chocolate for the filling — if you let it cool too much, it will be prone to firming up and will be harder to mix. The pie is best finished with — you guessed it — even more whipped cream. You can spoon the whipped cream onto the pie, or pipe it around the edge. Feel free to use a large round or star piping tip to pipe the whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy. Or, you can go the super simple route and just dollop the whipped cream on top of each slice as you serve it.
Make the Cookie Crust:1.
Preheat the oven to 350 F with an oven rack set in the center.2.
In a medium bowl, stir the cookie crumbs and salt together to combine. Add the butter and mix until evenly combined.3.
Press the crumb mixture evenly into the base and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. There should be enough crumbs to have a rim around the outer edge of the pie plate. Transfer the crust to the oven and bake until it smells toasty, 12 to15 minutes. Cool the crust completely before proceeding.
Make the Chocolate Mousse Filling:1.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.2.
Scrape the bowl well. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add about a third of the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream, then whip until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the remaining cream in a slow, steady stream, then whip on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.3.
With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the warm chocolate and mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl well, and mix again until evenly combined, 30 seconds to 1 minute more.4.
Scoop the filling into the cooled crust — it may be higher than the edge of the crust. If so, use a spatula to mound the filling in the center more, sloping down to the edges of the crust. Cover the filling directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Finish and Decorate the Pie:1.
Using a stand mixer, electric hand mixer, or a large bowl and a whisk, whip the cream and sugar to medium peaks. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.2.
When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap from the pie. Spoon, spread or pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie (see headnote) — or just serve it on the side. If using, decorate with fresh fruit.
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