You may not think it based on the number of dessert recipes I've been posting lately, but I'm not a huge dessert person. If given the choice between a cheese plate and a slice of cake I will choose the cheese, no question. But I do actually enjoy baking sometimes, and I especially love finding little ways to put my own spin on classic dessert recipes, like this Chocolate Chai Pie. The filling of what would otherwise be a pretty basic chocolate silk pie gets kicked up about ten notches with all the amazing flavors of a chai tea latte, especially when made with my Chai Masala, a combination of ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and a touch of saffron.
As with all chilled-filling pies, this one needs to be made in advance, but the good news is that it freezes wonderfully. So go ahead; double the recipe and freeze one pie for later. You know you want to.
(NOTE: This photo is from when I made some mini versions of this pie for a recent event. I'll update this post with some prettier photos as soon as I make this pie again. I just couldn't wait to share the recipe!)
Chocolate Chai Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 black tea bags (I like English Breakfast for this recipe)
6 ounces graham crackers or cookie of choice (I love Nilla Wafers for this)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (high quality chocolate chips are fine)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Chai Masala
Whipped cream, for serving (optional but highly recommended)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream just until you begin to see steam rising from it. Remove from heat, and add the tea bags, pressing them to submerge. Cover saucepan; let steep for 30 minutes.
While the tea is steeping in the cream, melt 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) of the butter. In a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers (or cookies), the melted butter, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract until just combined. You want it to be uniform and to stick together when pinched but not be a paste. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or fluted tart pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until firm and just starting to turn golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Remove the tea bags from the cream, carefully squeezing the tea bags to extract as much liquid as you can. Discard tea bags. Add the chopped chocolate to the cream mixture and stir to melt. If the cream has cooled completely, reheat it slowly over low heat just enough to melt the chocolate completely. Remove from heat and allow to cool again.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if you'll be using a hand mixer). Beat the butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 60 seconds. Add the powdered sugar and Chai Masala. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Slowly add the melted chocolate and cream mixture, beating just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Cover and chill for 15 minutes until it just starts to stiffen. Beat for an additional 5 minutes or so, until the mixture starts to thicken and you can see ribbons when you drizzle a spoonful over the bowl.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the cooled crust. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula or spoon. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours. (Note: To freeze, cool completely then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and lay flat in freezer. Freeze for up to a month.)
To serve, let pie stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing (60 minutes if frozen). Serve, topped with whipped cream, if desired.