This dessert has a chocolate cookie crust filled with layers of flourless chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream. Although each component is easy to make, I took my time with the recipe and, as the cookbook suggested, put it together over the course of two days.
On day one, I made the crust and flourless cake. The crust is supposed to be made of crushed Oreos and melted butter. When a recipe calls for an Oreo or chocolate wafer crust, I usually bake my own chocolate cookies instead of using store-bought ones (as I did with the Mississippi Mud Pie (A) recipe from Baked Explorations). But I happened to have a large supply of frozen chocolate hazelnut biscotti on hand that I had been saving for precisely this purpose.
I baked the biscotti (a recipe from the SoNo Bakery Company Cookbook) a few weeks ago; the cookies had a wonderful flavor but were not as crisp as they should have been. Since I was stuck with a double batch of biscotti with an off texture, I stashed them in the freezer for future use as chocolate crumbs. I ground 16 ounces of biscotti and added five tablespoons of melted butter, but the mixture was too dry to hold together -- I'm assuming because I didn't have the creme filling of Oreos to help bind the mixture. I added another two tablespoons of butter and was able to press the crust into a springform pan. My crust was speckled, with light spots of hazelnut bits throughout.
Once you have baked and cooled the crust, you fill it with a flourless chocolate cake batter (butter, chocolate, espresso powder, brewed coffee, salt, vanilla, eggs, sugar) and bake the cake. From the picture in the cookbook, I thought that the cake would be a relatively short, flat layer. There was a lot of cake batter, and it rose quite a bit in the oven, doming above the rim of the pan. The edges of the cake batter rose up even with the top edge of the crust. Upon cooling, the center of the cake sank to form a depression, but the edges were still even with the top of the crust. I stuck the cooled cake in the fridge until I could finish it the following day.
On day two, I made the chocolate pudding on the stove from sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, milk, butter, vanilla, and chocolate. I ran the pudding through a sieve before putting it in the fridge to chill (the recipe doesn't include this step, but I always put pudding and custards through a sieve). Although the recipe instructs you to chill the pudding for at least three hours before pouring it on top of the cake, the pudding was thick and pretty cold after about 90 minutes, and I didn't really see the point of getting it super-cold before spreading it on top of the cake, since it would just go right back in the fridge again anyway. So I went ahead and added the pudding, and put the cake back in the fridge for a bit. The final step was to add some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
This cake was incredibly delicious. While it was very chocolate-y, it was not as heavy as I would have expected. My favorite part turned out to be the chocolate hazelnut crust, which was perfectly crunchy and tasted fabulous. The flourless cake and deeply chocolate pudding (I used 70% chocolate in both) were both intense, and the pudding was wonderfully creamy. The whipped cream was nice, but the flavor was barely discernible among the other components. Any part of this cake would be delicious on its own, but when you put them all together, they form a dessert that is truly over the top.
Recipe: "Mississippi Mud Pie (B), aka Mississippi Muddy Cake," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings, or here at marthastewart.com.
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