Monday, April 19, 2010

The Chimera

(me and this thing had words when it came time to plate)

AKA the Spinal Tap. Because it's cranked up to 11. Let's just jump right in with a layer-by-layer breakdown, starting form the ground up:

Layer 1: Chocolate chip cookie crust
Layer 2: Chocolate cheesecake
Layer 3: Chocolate ganache
Layer 4: Chocolate mousse

Garnished with chocolate shavings.

Truthfully, this thing is ridiculous. It's all of my favorite desserts crammed into one dish. It's too much chocolate. Who needs this much chocolate? I think I saw a tear in my husband's eye when he tasted this.

I'm not going to tell you that this is an easy or practical dessert (although the cheesecake layer is no bake). It's definitely a special occasion treat, and you're essentially making four different desserts. But if you pull it off, I swear people will build golden shrines in your honor.

The Chimera
(Serves a lot)

First, you're going to need a deep dish pie plate. This won't work in a wimpy everyday pie plate. It weighs as much as my firstborn as it is.

For the cookie crust:
3 c chocolate chip cookie crumbs (you can buy the cookies, but if you're going to do this, you might as well go all out and make some)
3 Tbsp butter (melted)

For the chocolate cheesecake:
2 1/2 packages of cream cheese (softened)
2/3 c sugar
1 c heavy whipping cream (whipped)
1 c cocoa powder

For the ganache:
2/3 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c heavy cream

For the mousse:
Slightly more than 2/3 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c water (divided)
3 eggs yolks
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 c heavy whipping cream (whipped

Make the cookie crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (f). Mix the cookie crumbs and melted butter well. Press into the bottom and sides of the pie plate and bake 5 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

Make the chocolate cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until light and smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour over the cooled cookie crust and smooth it out (you want a level base for the next layer).

Make the ganache:
Put the chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it boils, remove immediately and pour over chocolate chips. Stir until blended well and smooth. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then pour over cheesecake layer. At this point, you'll need to keep the pie/monstrosity in the fridge when it's not being assembled.

Make the mousse:
Heat the chocolate, butter, and 1/4 cup of water in a double boiler until everything is melted and smooth. allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. While that's cooling, whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup of water, and sugar briskly over low heat for about a minute and a half, until the mixture reaches about 165 degrees. Whisk it in to the chocolate mixture and set in the fridge to cool for about 10 minutes (you want ti to be roughly room temperature). Carefully fold in the whipped cream, then pour over the ganache layer of the dessert, smoothing it out.

You can reserve some of the mousse (as I did) to pipe some decorations around the edges. You can also dust the top with cocoa powder or confectioner's sugar, or shave chocolate on top. You can also top with fresh berries. There's a lot you can do with this.

Let it set in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.

As large and absurd as this dessert is, it does not last long. Eat it while you can.

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