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Chocolate Pie with Cappuccino Cream

(Makes one 9-inch pie)
Chocolate Pie with Cappuccino Cream
This chocolate pie tastes like a dessert from a five-star restaurant.  The chocolate pudding
filling is silky and rich and it's topped with whipped cream that's gently flavored with espresso.
Add some toasted almonds and chocolate-covered espresso beans for some crunch and
you have a totally indulgent chocolate-lover's dessert.

Notes on making this pie: 
This recipe makes more filling than you will need to fill a 9-inch pie crust.  Serve the extra in
dessert cups as a bonus dessert for another day.  Or you can increase the amount of the
crust ingredients to fill a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate and have a larger pie.  To save time, you
may choose to buy a pre-made chocolate cookie or graham cracker crust.  These pre-made
crusts usually come in an 8-inch size, so you may be able to fill 2 of these smaller size crusts
with this filling.

Pie Crust:
9 whole chocolate graham crackers, crushed (about 1-1/4 cups crumbs)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons, butter, melted

Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
3-1/2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Kahlua or coffee-flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cappuccino Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toasted sliced almonds
Chocolate-covered espresso beans


To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the graham crackers with the sugar.
Add the butter and stir until the crumbs are moistened.
Firmly press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie dish.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool.

To make the filling:
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch.
Whisk together the half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the sugar mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. The mixture should come to a boil and thicken in 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from heat. Whisk in both chocolates and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the Kahlua and vanilla. Spoon the filling into the pie crust.
Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling. Chill until the filling sets, about 6 hours or overnight.

To make the cream topping:
Beat all the ingredients with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Peel plastic off pie. Transfer whipped cream to a pastry bag and pipe a border around the pie or simply dollop the cream on top of the pie. Press toasted almonds around the outside edge of the whipped cream border. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans and serve.
Chocolate Pie with Cappuccino Cream
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Chocolate-covered coffee beans are confections made by coating roasted coffee beans in dark, milk, or white chocolate. They have an intense chocolate flavor followed by the surprising crunch and taste of the coffee bean.  They are nice as an after dinner treat or an an edible decoration on cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts.
Instant espresso powder offers the most practical way to impart a good, rich coffee flavor to cookies, candies, and cakes.  The fine powder dissolves quickly in hot liquid to produce a bolder, more concentrated taste than regular instant coffee.  The intense flavor comes with a solid dose of caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine's effects,  look for a brand of instant powder labeled decaffeinated.
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