Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Pie

Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Pie

Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Pie

This delectable pie is a riff on a dessert that has a special place in the hearts of all of the women in my family!  "Peppermint Fluff" was always on the dessert buffet during the holidays, layers of fluffy peppermint flavored mousse and chocolate cookie crumbs.  I decided to use my "Whipped Cream that won't Fall Flat" to create both a peppermint and chocolate mousse and layer it into a chocolate pie shell.  It's deceptively light and creamy, the perfect addition to your Holiday dessert table, or ending to any holiday meal!

Equipment needed:  Kitchen Scale  9-inch pie plate     Mixer       Offset Spatulas

Place the bowl and whip attachment of the stand mixer in the freezer to chill until ready to prepare filling.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick spray.

For the crust:

(In a pinch, you can use a purchased chocolate cookie crust)

8 ounces finely-ground chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

2 ounces (4 T.) melted butter

Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter until very well mixed.  Press evenly into the pie pan, firming the bottom with a metal measuring cup and creating a rim with your fingers.  Freeze for about one hour.

For the filling:

1/4 cup cool water

1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 ounces good quality dark chocolate

2 Tablespoons + 6 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 drops red food coloring

Place the water in a small bow and sprinkle the gelatin over the top.  Let mixture sit for about 2 minutes, then stir to combine.  Microwave in 15 second increments, until heated through and the gelatin is dissolved completely, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Place the chocolate in a medium glass bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring as needed, until the chocolate is melted.  Side aside.

Place 1 cup of heavy cream in the chilled mixer bowl along with 2 Tablespoons of the powdered sugar.  Mix on medium speed until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes frothy.  Increase the speed to high, and slowly stream in 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of the gelatin mixture (if the gelatin has begun to thicken, heat briefly in the microwave just until it is fluid again, but not hot). Whip until the cream is very stiff.  Add 1/4 of the mixture to the melted chocolate (re-warm slightly if any of the chocolate has hardened, do not let it get hot) and whisk until evenly combined.  Add the remaining whipped cream and combine until uniformly mixed.  Set aside (don't refrigerate).

Place the remaining heavy cream, 6 Tablespoons powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and 2 drops of red food coloring into the same mixer bowl.  Beat together on medium speed until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is becoming frothy.  Increase speed to high and slowly drizzle in 2 Tablespoons of the liquid gelatin mixture.  Whip until very stiff.  Set aside.

Assemble the pie:

Remove the pie shell from the freezer.  Pile half of the peppermint filling in the shell.  Using an offset spatula, spread evenly into the shell.

Scoop all of the chocolate filling onto the top of the peppermint filling and carefully smooth over the peppermint filling to the edges of the crust.

Scoop the remaining peppermint filling onto the chocolate filling.  Smooth evenly over the top of the chocolate.

Sprinkle with additional cookie crumbs, or wait to garnish and serve drizzled with Chocolate Sauce.  Freeze for 2 hours, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving Tip:  For perfectly neat slicing, freeze the pie completely, then cut with a wet knife, wiping after each cut.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving, until defrosted.  This is good served slightly frozen, too.

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Sweet Potato Swirl Cheesecake

Sweet Potato Swirl Cheesecake

Feast of Eden was well known for cheesecake!  It was the first product I sold after I started the business, and by the time the cafe closed we had created 17 different versions.  Here comes #18!  I love sweet potatoes, and thought it might work even better than pumpkin; I was right!  I hope you love this Thanksgiving dessert! (I have begun listing the necessary equipment for recipes.  I have shopped for the best deals, so just click on the item to view and purchase if you don't have it!)

Equipment needed: Stand mixer, immersion blender (optional), cheesecake pan, offset spatula, rubber spatula, parchment paperpastry bag with large tip & coupler

For the crust:

3 1/2 ounces each, Gingersnaps and Vanilla Wafers, made into fine crumbs

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 ounces (3Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

2 pounds cream cheese (full-fat is best!)

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 extra-large eggs

1 cup cooked, pureed sweet potato

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Whipped Cream (that won't fall flat)

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees

Make the crust:

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch cheesecake or springform pan.  Spray the pan well with non-stick spray, place the parchment in the bottom, then spray the parchment paper.

Combine all of the crust ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well-combined.  Spread evenly in the pan, using the back of a spoon to level the crumbs.  Using a one cup measure, compact the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan.  (See video)  Set aside.

Make the filling:

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.  Beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl several times.  Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat until very well combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl several times.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until well combined, scraping the bowl a few times to be sure there are no streaks of egg.  Remove 1 cup of batter to a medium bowl.

Add the spices and sweet potato puree to the 1 cup batter and blend with an immersion blender or by hand until smooth and uniform in color.

Place 1/2 of the plain cheesecake batter in the prepared crust and smooth with an offset spatula.  Drop half of the sweet potato filling by spoonfuls evenly over the top of the batter in the pan and swirl with a spatula or butter knife, being careful not to gouge the crust.  Repeat the process with the remaining batters and smooth the top a bit.  Tap the cheesecake gently on the counter to settle the batter.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake at 450-degrees for 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325-degrees.  Bake for an addition 30-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is puffed and just slightly jiggles in the center when the pan is lightly shaken.

Remove to a cooling rack and immediately run a thin knife around the outside of the cheesecake (if the cheesecake is loosened from the sides it decreases the likelihood of post-baking cracks) and cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before garnishing.

Carefully remove the sides of the pan from the cheesecake.  Run a very large, broad spatula between the crust and the parchment to loosen.  Carefully lift the cheesecake onto a serving plate.  Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip and swirl the whipped cream around the edges and in the center of the cheesecake.  Combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon and sift it over the top of the whipped cream.

Keep refrigerated.  Cheesecakes freeze well and will keep at least a month in the freezer.  To freeze, place the cheesecake on a moisture-proof 9" cake circle before decorating.  Decorate, and place the cheesecake on a sheet pan, cover lightly with a piece of waxed paper and freeze.  Once frozen it can be sliced and placed in an airtight container.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cheesecake in the storage container to prevent ice crystals from forming on the cheesecake.  Thaw in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.

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