April 28, 2014 Leave your thoughts
For the first photo, I could have picked one of my pictures of the dessert in its whole, unbroken form. I thought that the ones with a bite taken out were prettier, though. They look happier, don’t you think?
In case you didn’t see the title, I should probably tell you what these are.
They’re MISSISSIPPI MUD PIES.
Oh yeah, baby.
You see all of those shades of brown in there? That’s because there are FIVE layers of deliciousness: a cookie crust, a coffee cream, another layer of cookie crust, a light, fluffy chocolate mousse, and a chocolate shell on the top.
Did I mention that it’s completely gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan, too?
I’m salivating just thinking about it.
I call this dish a “Mississippi Mud Pie,” but it actually isn’t very much like the original, which is VERY dense, VERY sweet, and VERY chocolaty. I wanted to take my version to the next level, so I lightened up the creamier layers with cashews and coconut milk, significantly decreased the sugar content, and balanced out the chocolate with the wonderful flavor of coffee.
I think it’s way more sophisticated, too.
When I was younger, my parents and I would often go out to dinner at a restaurant called the Ash Creek Saloon. It was kinda a cheesy place with wood everything and lots of cowboy hats, but as I recall, the food was pretty good. There was barbecued chicken, pulled pork, and ribs galore, with cornbread, coleslaw, and very salty fries to go along with them.
The restaurant is gone now, but the one thing I still have a concrete memory of was the Mississippi Mud Pie. I don’t really remember what they put in there or how it was presented–I only have flashes of Oreo cookie crumbs and sticky chocolate syrup–but I remember that it was really, really good.
Years later, I was eating at a much finer dining establishment (namely Brown’s Beach House, which I mentioned in my Hawaii post) and had an incredible Mississippi Mud Pie ice cream cake that I think was about the size of my head. But I still ate the entire thing and licked the plate because, you know, I didn’t want to be rude or anything.
Not. It was super-duper stellarly amazing.
Anyway, this dessert is a tribute to two Mississippi Mud Pies that have shaped my life, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I (and my teachers and friends) did.
Let’s get started.
Pour 2 cups of walnuts, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (the good stuff, please), and a pinch of salt into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the walnuts are finely ground but nowhere near turning buttery, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or coconut nectar, if you prefer) and process for another 30 seconds until everything sticks together in a nice, firm dough. It’ll look like this:
If you find your crust is too liquid-y, add in more walnuts. If you find it is too dry, add more maple syrup.
Line 3 mini spring-form pans (or ramekins if you don’t have them) with a circle of parchment paper. Using your fingers, squish 1/6 of the crust into each of the pans, using up only half of your total crust. Spread it out so there are no holes and everything is in one uniform layer.
Pop those guys in the freezer while you make the coffee cream layer.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine 1 cup of cashews (SOAKED OVERNIGHT!!!) with 1/2 cup of strongly-brewed coffee (preferably decaf, because me + caffeine = everybody leaves), 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and a pinch of salt. Blend until homogeneous and creamy, about 1 minute.
Take the spring form pans out of the freezer and evenly divide the cashew mixture among the three of them. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth them out…
…then pop them back into the freezer for at least 3 hours to firm up. This is crucial! You’ll see why in a second.
Remember the second half of the crust you didn’t use earlier? Yeah, now’s the time. After your spring form pans have been in the freezer for 3 hours with the cashew base, take them out and evenly divide the rest of the crust mixture among the pans.
Applying very gentle pressure, spread the crust out so it completely covers the layer of cashew cream. If you press too hard, you’ll have a mess–so be very, very careful.
Pop those bad boys back in the freezer while you make the light, fluffy chocolate layer.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the coconut cream from 2 cans of coconut milk (put them in the fridge overnight, tip upside down, and pour out the “water” on the bottom) with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Blend just to combine (only about 15-20 seconds), then taste and adjust if necessary.
Take the spring form pans out of the freezer (again) and divide the fluffy chocolate layer evenly among the three pans. Pop in the freezer for at least another hour.
Take the pans out of the freezer after the hour has elapsed. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, then pour 1/3 of it over the top of each pie, using a fork or spoon to spread it out.
Put back in the freezer overnight. The next day, de-mold the Mississippi Mud Pies and store in the fridge for a softer dessert or freezer for a firmer sweet treat.
Are you a chocolate purist, or do you like it with other things? (OR BOTH?!) Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!