I think I was onto my career path early, and it might have started with making mud pies. The real mud pies with mud, not like the one you see above. In many ways it was just a small step from one to the other. I was very precise when I made mud pies. They could not be without decoration and finesse. I would gather jar lids, old aluminum pie tins, twigs, small leaves, dandelions and little berries from the woods before beginning…my first version of “mise en place”. Filling the lids and pie tins with mud after a rain, I would smooth the tops and gently press leaves and twigs into the tops artfully. The hardest part was waiting for them to dry. Not that I could actually eat them, but I wanted to see how pretty they looked all dried and hard with little pieces of nature sticking up randomly from the tops. Sometimes I would sprinkle the tops with small gravel or powdery dirt or white fluffy dandelion heads. It’s not really hard to figure out how I got from there to here is it?
My favorite desert is a mud-dark chocolate meringue pie. One that is not overly sugary, one with a nice thick layer of browned meringue and one with a crust that doesn’t get soggy within a few hours. I think this pie is it, finally, an edible mud pie!
The extra, extra here is the espresso powder dusted over the crust before being filled and baked. The other extra something, something is that the filling ingredients are all mixed in a blender. How easy is that?
You can flute edges of the crusts or not. Make them fancy or plain. Whatever you like.
Bake until a few tiny cracks start to show on the surface. The center is just a big jiggly. Time for meringue, or if that is not your thing…then whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, or maybe dandelion heads? These pies are good for a few days if they last that long.
This is a pie that makes a good gift for your fellow chocolate loving friends and family. I have made 4 of these in the same number of days and have given most away….most, but not all!
Eat with coffee, with milk, on a plate or out of the pan…anyway you like it..enjoy.
- Saucers and Green enamel pie pan from Gaslight Antiques, Nashville
- Forks from Etsy
- Surface from Woodville Workshop
- Glasses and linen personal collection
Dark Chocolate Mud Pie with Espresso Crust
Ingredients for two pies:
- 1 box of refrigerator pie dough (2 to the box)
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups canned evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 stick/1/2 cup butter, melted
Meringue for two pies + other toppings:
- 6 egg whites (freeze the yolks and add to the next cake you bake)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Alternatively you can use store bought meringue powder following directions on the package. If you don’t care for meringue top with whipped cream. Un-topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is yummy as well.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove refrigerator pie dough rounds from the refrigerator and let sit for about 15 minutes to warm up a bit. This makes them easy to handle. Roll each one out on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon espresso powder. Smear around to edges with your fingers. Fit each dough round into a regular size pie pan, not deep dish pressing into bottom and sides. Turn edges under and flute or turn under and press down with the tines of a fork.
- Whisk together the 3/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 cups granulated sugar.
- Put 4 eggs, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract into a blender. Add in the cocoa powder-sugar mixture and blend well. Add in 1 stick melted butter. Blend well again. Pour filling equally into each pie shell. I put both pie pans on a sheet pan as it makes it easier to move and just in case of spillage no oven to clean!
- Bake for 20 minutes. Quickly turn pan around and bake another 15 minutes. The pies should be puffy and just a bit jiggly or wiggly in the middle. They may even start to have some small cracks in the surface, but that’s okay. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. They will sink and set up as they cool.
- If you are adding a meringue top: Turn oven heat to 450 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat 6 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoon cornstarch mixture until stiff peaks form. Spread over pies touching the crust all around and bake until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. These pies are ready to cut and eat if you like your pie warm. I let ours cool completely before eating. You can keep chilled for a few days.