Messy Chocolate and Berry Pie

This is my spin on a recipe given to me by Alfred Henry, but like most things in life I’ve changed it and made it my own. It’s my take on the classic Mississippi Mud Pie born in America in the 1970s and it’s got to be the ultimate dessert sin. It’s loaded with chocolate, butter, cream and syrup . . . and if you’re me, it’s definitely an everyday kind of pie.

For the S(ch)weet Pastry (you can use store bought, but it’s always nicer to make your own):

You’ll need

  • 150 g butter
  • 370 g flour
  • 75 g sugar

Chuck the flour and butter into a large bowl and mix it with your hands. Once you have a nice crumbly dough, add the brown sugar and combine loosely, taking care to not compress the dough too much.

You might think you’ve used enough butter, but the fun isn’t over yet. Grease a 23 cm baking tin. Then take a ball of dough and press it down into the tin and up the sides until it’s about 2-3 mm thick. Whack it in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C and blind bake for about 5 minutes until the pastry has set. It’ll still work if you don’t do this, but the pastry won’t be crunchy crumbly.

For the Mess

One big note: use the best chocolate, coffee and cocoa powder you can afford – you want those beautiful deep dark flavours to come out. Cheap stuff tastes cheap.

You’ll need

  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 250 g treacle sugar
  • 150 g butter
  • 40 g dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons good quality instant coffee powder
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • a handful of pecan nuts – crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • whipped cream
  • fresh berries

Whisk the eggs and sugar to form a sabayon (which is really just a fancy word for a foamy mixture – think almost like custard). It doesn’t matter if the sugar isn’t completely dissolved. Take a non-stick saucepan and chuck in the butter. When it’s melted, add the chocolate, coffee and cocoa powder. Stir around until everything has melted and it’s been properly mixed, then add the crushed pecan nuts. Steer clear of friends with sticky fingers and set it aside.

Take the whisked egg/sugar combination and add the sour cream and the syrup and vanilla essence. Mix well.

The last part of this messy process is to combine the chocolate and the egg mixture to form a thick mousse.

Pour into the pastry-lined tin and bake for 40 minutes until the mixture puffs up and forms a crust. Now comes the really tricky part. You’ve got to hide the pie somewhere –it needs time to rest and cool down on a wire rack but putting it on a windowsill with an open window is not a good idea when aforementioned friends with sticky fingers are around.

Once it’s cooled down, top with fresh berries and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. In my house, this messy pie never lasts more than a day.

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