And now, I present to you my fifth and final Cinco de Mayo recipe: Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie! I just had to end on a high note, and this one definitely takes the cake (er, pie?). I found this amazingly flavorful pie in my latest copy of Cooking Light Magazine, and I thought of it when I was planning my Cinco de Mayo menu. I'm glad I did; otherwise this wonderful gem may have slipped through the cracks, and gone unmade. That would have been a real shame.
Now I know Cinco de Mayo was technically yesterday, but so what? You hardly need an excuse to make this pie. I mean, it's straight from a "light cooking" magazine, so anytime can be pie time! If you need any more convincing, I suppose I could try harder....
You start out with a graham cracker crust, enhanced with a big sprinkle of cinnamon and lightened by using part butter, part egg white for the binder. I made mine even more cinnamon-y by using half cinnamon-flavored graham crackers.
Next, you make a spicy chocolate pudding. Man, is this stuff good! It's got both unsweetened dark cocoa powder and real, melted dark chocolate, which makes it taste oh-so-rich. Espresso powder strengthens the chocolate flavor, while a dash of cayenne pepper makes the whole concoction a whole lot more intriguing. The pudding was a snap to make and I found that part of the recipe much more painless than I expected it to be.
Finally, after chilling the pudding layer for a few hours inside the pie crust, you slather on your final layer. Now, this is the one part of the recipe that I may try to improve upon in the future, because you use Cool Whip. Just Cool Whip. Nothing homemade, or complicated. But that kinda disappointed me, because I do try to make things completely from scratch a lot of the time, and my husband could tell right away that this came out of a tub. That's okay, though. The pie was still unbelievably delicious and decadent, especially for a Cooking Light pie. It's the stuff of healthy-living dreams, I promise!
Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 1 (9-inch) pie
5 sheets honey graham crackers
5 sheets cinnamon graham crackers
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
2 eggs, divided (1 egg white for the crust, 1 whole egg and a yolk for the pudding)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne pepper)
1 3/4 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip Lite, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare the crust: crush the graham crackers in a food processor, until the crumbs resemble sand. Add 2 Tbsp. sugar, the cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle in the egg white and the 2 Tsp. butter until the crumbs are moistened. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch pie plate that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Press the crumbs across the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake at 375 for 9 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
2. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso, cayenne, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, egg, and egg yolk in a medium-sized bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place the milk in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until milk reaches 180 degrees or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil).
3. Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until thick and bubbly (mine only took about 5 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add dark chocolate; stir until smooth.
4. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 10 minutes or until mixture cools, stirring occasionally. Spoon filling into crust, and cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hours or until set; remove plastic wrap. Spread the Cool Whip evenly over the pudding layer; sprinkle with ground cinnamon to garnish.