This Devil's Chocolate Cream Pie is an insanely smooth and rich chocolate cream pie with meringue on top and an Oreo cookie crust.
Alternative #1: You can stir in extracts to the chocolate mixture just before pouring into the crust. Almond, mint, orange and raspberry extracts go beautifully with chocolate.
Alternative #2: Add a layer of strawberry or peanut butter mousse to the set chocolate filling before adding the topping! This not only looks great when you cut into the pie, it's also insanely delicious. On top of all that, they are super fast to make.
For the crust:1.
Preheat oven to 350º F.2.
Line an 8" springform pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick baker's spray. Set aside.3.
Break up the cookies (keep them whole, we're using the filling too) and place in a food processor. Pulse until almost a sand consistency and then break up any large pieces with your fingers. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the blitzed cookies into a small bowl. Set aside.4.
Transfer the ground cookies to a large bowl. Pour the butter on top of the cookies and immediate stir the mixture until the butter evenly saturates the cookie dust, making sure there are no pockets of butter or dry cookies left. Squeeze a small amount of the crust between your fingers to make sure it holds its shape.5.
Press the cookie mixture onto the bottom and along the sides of the springform pan. Don't worry about the sides of the pie looking perfectly even along the edge. Having jagged bits on top will look great on the finished pie. Just make sure that there are no gaps!6.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Once out of the oven, check to make sure there are no cracks that have formed in the crust. If so, while the crust is still warm and malleable, gently work the crust to fill the gaps. Set aside to cool completely.7.
Alternatively, gently line the pan with parchment and fill with pie weights (for this, sometimes beans or rice are better since you need quite a bit of pie weights to fill up the cavity) up to the top. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and bake for 5 minutes more.8.
Set aside to cool completely.
For the filling:1.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream, sugar and salt. Stir over low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat to medium high and allow the mixture to just come to a boil.2.
In the meanwhile, in a wide shallow bowl, add the milk and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the milk and let it sit until it blooms (the gelatin will look like wet sand and be saturated with moisture. Make sure there are no dry patches of gelatin).3.
Take the cream off the heat once it reaches a boil and immediately add the gelatin and milk mixture and then the vanilla. Stir with a whisk to incorporate the gelatin and then immediately add the chocolate. Tip the pan back and forth to make sure the chocolate is completely covered with the hot liquid. Let this sit for a few minutes then whisk the chocolate, making sure that it is completely melted and combined with the liquid (this is when you'd add any extra extracts).4.
Holding a sieve over the crust, pour the chocolate mixture through the sieve and into the crust to keep any lumps of unmelted gelatin from joining the chocolate pie party. Carefully transfer the pie to the refrigerator and cool until completely set, about 3 hours but preferably overnight.
For the topping:1.
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and set over simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has completely melted, the mixture feels as if it has thinned a bit and the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160º F.2.
Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the meringue has very stiff, shiny peaks.
Prior to adding the meringue to the pie, sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of cookie dust over the top of the filling. This creates something of a barrier between the filling and the meringue, helping the meringue to keep from weeping.2.
You can dump all the meringue straight on top and use a spoon or offset spatula to spread it in a jaunty fashion or you can pipe lovely peaks all along the top. You can also quickly torch the meringue to make it marshmallow toasty or serve glistening and white.
For the easy strawberry mousse (optional):1.
In a bowl, combine the diced strawberries and the sugar. Stir to combine. Allow to sit about 20 minutes for the juices to start running. Transfer to a saucepan and stir over low heat until the strawberries are soft and the juices start to thicken to the point they coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Run the puree through a fine sieve. You should have at least 1¼ cup puree once sieved.2.
Combine the lemon juice and water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin in an even layer over the top. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes to bloom (the gelatin should look like wet sand). Once bloomed, melt the gelatin in the microwave in 30 second bursts at 30 to 40 percent power. Swirl the bowl in between blasts and continue until the gelatin is completely melted. Combine the strawberry puree and the gelatin mixture. Stir to combine.3.
In a food processor combine the cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and puree and mix until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold into the cream cheese and puree mixture. Alternatively, use a stand mixer: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and the confectioner's sugar. Mix until smooth. Swap out the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high until the mixture is thick and almost has stiff peaks. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the strawberry mixture. Once added, mix on high until combined.
For the easy peanut butter mousse (Optional additional layer):
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on low until the confectioner's sugar is somewhat distributed and then mix on high until the mousse is smooth and fluffy.