You know peppermint bark, right? It’s that strangely addictive candy, hocked by Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joe’s, and other peddlers of sin: dark chocolate, layered with peppermint-infused white chocolate, and sprinkled with those red-and-white-striped peppermints, crushed into charming little slivers.
So I thought I’d try to make my own version–a CurvyMama version–which would, of course, have to be in pie form.
I played around with various kinds of creamy or moussey fillings, and this is is what I came up with. One layer of white chocolate peppermint mousse, and one layer of bittersweet chocolate mousse, topped with fluffs of sweetened whipped cream and crushed peppermints. (You’ve got to use the red-and-white kind. It’s an endearing dash of color. How can you not do that?)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that this pie isn’t the, um, the quickest pie to make. That’s because you have to make enough custard base for the whole pie, but then divide it into two sections so you can flavor one with peppermint and white chocolate, and the other one with bittersweet chocolate. The bottom layer has to chill in the pie for a while before you can finish and add the top layer. See?
(I’m sorry that the whipped cream was a little slouchy, and the peppermints had oozed color a teensy bit, when these photos were taken. I had a horde of hungry officemates breathing down my neck to get done with the damn photo shoot already and give us our slices! These people are journalists, and if you think they’re pushy when they’re chasing stories, you should see them when they’re waiting in line for free pie.)
So here’s what you do. Roll out and blind-bake a single pie crust. (Here’s CurvyMama’s dough recipe.) Set it out to cool.
Now you’ll make the custard base for the mousse. In a saucepan, heat 1 1/4 cups of the cream, just til it gives off steam (don’t let it simmer!).
Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. When the cream’s hot, drizzle it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour it back into the saucepan and cook over low to moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it’s thickened. Pour the custard through a sieve placed over a bowl.
Divide the custard evenly into two bowls. Add peppermint extract to one, and the vanilla paste or extract to the other.
Melt the white chocolate (you’ll see in a few minutes why we do the white chocolate part of the mousse before the dark chocolate one).
Whip 1 3/4 cups of the cream until it just forms stiff peaks (don’t overwhip). Divide it in half. Put half in the refrigerator; we’ll come back to it in a little while. Of the half you still have in front of you, whisk about one-quarter into the white chocolate-peppermint mousse. Carefully fold in the rest until combined. (You haven’t touched the whipped cream that you stashed in the fridge, right? Good.)
Spoon the white chocolate-peppermint mousse into the pie shell. Refrigerate.
Now you’ll use the same method to finish the chocolate mousse. Melt the bittersweet chocolate. Whisk into it the custard base flavored with vanilla. Let that cool until its surface is no longer warm to the touch.
By the time the white chocolate-peppermint mouse layer has set sufficiently in the refrigerator, your chocolate custard base should be ready to finish. (If it’s not, give it more time.) When the chocolate base is no longer warm, get that remaining whipped cream out of the fridge (See?? We didn’t forget it!) and do the same as we did with the white chocolate portion: whisk in one-quarter of it, then fold in the rest.
Spread the bittersweet chocolate mousse over the white chocolate-peppermint mousse. Let the pie chill.
Put 6 to 8 peppermints into a Ziploc bag. Using a hammer, pound them lightly until they shatter into small bits. Try not to hit them so hard they dissolve into powder. You want some of those cute red stripes to be visible on the pieces.
Shortly before serving, take the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, combine it with the confectioner’s sugar, and whip until it forms soft peaks. Transfer to a pastry bag. Pipe nice big fluffs of sweetened whipped cream around the edge of the pie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints.
Now see? Wasn’t that worth it? Mmmm!!!
- One fully baked 9-inch pastry crust (dough recipe here: http://bit.ly/20jjKN6)
- 4 cups heavy cream, divided: 3 for the pie filling, 1 for the topping
- 6 egg yolks
- 4 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- Dash of Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste (or extract)
- 5 1/4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 to 8 red-and-white-striped peppermint candies
- 2 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
- Blind-bake a single-crust pie shell. Let cool.
- Heat 1 1/4 cups of the cream in a saucepan over moderately low heat. When it begins to give off steam, turn off the heat. Don't let it simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt.
- When the cream is hot, drizzle it slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the hot cream/egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Pour the custard through a sieve placed over a bowl.
- Divide the custard evenly in two bowls. Add the peppermint extract to one bowl of the custard, and the vanilla paste or extract to the other.
- Melt the white chocolate. Whisk the peppermint-flavored custard into the white chocolate.
- Allow it to cool until it doesn't feel much warmer than your fingertip when you touch its surface lightly.
- Whip 1 3/4 cups of cream just until stiff peaks form. Take care not to whip past this point. Scoop out half of the whipped cream and refrigerate it. From the other half, take about one-quarter of the whipped cream and whisk it into the white-chocolate-peppermint mixture. Carefully fold in the rest of that portion of whipped cream.
- Spread the white chocolate peppermint mousse into the bottom of the baked pie shell. Refrigerate.
- Now go back and finish the dark chocolate mousse. Melt the dark chocolate. Whisk the vanilla-flavored custard into the dark chocolate. Let it cool the same way you did with the white chocolate mixture. When it's no longer warm to the touch, whisk in one quarter of the refrigerated whipped cream, then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
- When the white chocolate mousse has set sufficiently in the pie shell, spread the dark chocolate mousse in a layer of even thickness on top. Chill.
- Shortly before you are ready to serve the pie, crush 6-8 hard red-and-white peppermint candies into small pieces. Combine the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the confectioner's sugar and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe generous fluffs of sweetened cream around the edge of the pie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints.