WAITRESS Pie Contest: “Love You to De Luna Pie and Back”

“Love You to De Luna Pie and Back” 
Submitted by Pam Cucura
Cookie dough crust
2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter room temperature
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg-room temp
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
Chocolate ganache layer
6 oz. chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate (1 cup)
6 oz. heavy cream
Meringue topping
4 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
For the cookie dough crust:
1. Spray 10 inch pie pan with nonstick spray. In small bowl whisk flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside
2. Place butter and both sugars in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Mix them together on medium speed until well combined, but not light and fluffy. Beating too much will incorporate too much air
to the dough.
3. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Add dry ingredients and mix until almost entirely incorporated.  You’ll see a few white streaks……don’t panic.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.  Dough will be stiff.
5. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.  Make the bottom thicker than the sides to make sure you have a nice soft bottom. That’s what we all want……right ladies?  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and
up to overnight. whichever your time limit allows.
6. Preheat oven to 375 F and place pie shell in freezer to get really cold while oven preheats. Spray pie lightly with nonstick cooking spray and press foil gently over the bottom or sides of pie.  Fill foil lined bottom and sides
with dry beans, rice or pie weights.
7. Bake the shell at 375F for 20-25 minutes, rotating half way throughout.  Bake until sides are light golden and look fairly set.  Remove shell from oven and gently remove weighted foil and return to oven.  Lower the
temp to 350F and bake for additional 15 minutes, until crust is puffed and golden. If sides are getting too brown, lightly cover with foil strips.
8. Let crust completely cool before filling.
For ganache layer:
1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl.  Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until it simmers, just under boiling stage.  Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it sit
for a minute to soften the chocolate.  Whisk mixture until chocolate melts and ganache is smooth and shiny.  You just made GANACHE!!  You’re so fancy!
2. Cover ganache with plastic wrap, placed directly onto ganache, and let cool on counter until peanut butter consistency. Scrape most of the ganache, reserving about 1/2 cup into cooled cookie shell, spreading in a level even layer.
For meringue layer:
1. Place room temp egg whites and salt in a clean and dry bowl of  stand mixer with whisk attachment.  Begin beating them on  medium speed with whisk attachment and gradually raise the speed to medium-high.
Once whites are opaque and hold soft peaks, start adding sugar 2 tablespoons at a time.  Beat well in between each addition to avoid grainy meringue.
2.  Once all sugar has been added, continue to beat on high speed until the whites are glossy, thick, and hold firm peaks when you stop the mixer and remove the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla extract and quickly stir in.
3.  Scrape the meringue on top of the ganache in the pie shell, and spread it out evenly. Use a spatula to create beautiful peaks and whirls on top of the meringue.  If you have a kitchen torch, torch the top of the meringue
until it is golden brown all over. If not, set the pie on a baking sheet under your oven broiler.  Watch it like a hawk!  It will be quick to burn, so monitor it closely and turn pie as necessary to prevent hot spots.  Once
toasted, let cool briefly before serving.
4. If desired, melt reserved ganache in the microwave and drizzle as a chocolate sauce, over or under each piece.  This pie is best enjoyed the same day it is made.
If you do not have a deep dish pie pan, you could also use a similar sized cast iron skillet or spring form pan, but you might need to adjust baking times to compensate for the different pan.

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