Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Scoring points

Being married for a little more than a year, I'm trying to do my best and score some good-wifey- points from time to time. Sometimes it's easy to do something nice for my better half (particularly if it happens to fit in with my own plans), sometimes I actually make myself do something I wouldn't have done otherwise. After all, one shouldn't start to slacken just yet!

What's been surprisingly difficult though, is to make his favourite desserts. Bit embarrassing, isn't it? And I'm not talking about several ill-fated attempts to recreate his mom's best cakes (before you ask, my versions were perfectly edible but unfortunately not half as good as the originals). No, his criterion for a great dessert is quite simple yet I'm still struggling to master it: Whatever you do, it must have chocolate - and loads of it!

Thus, I discovered over the course of the last months that whilst I like chocolate as much as the next person, I'm just as enamoured with vanilla, and come to think of it, I really prefer fruity desserts over anything else. Who knew that it would take just one year of marriage to finally figure that one out.

For our first wedding anniversary (the first of the two) I really wanted to get it right. I borrowed a lovely chocolate dessert cookbook from the library with mouthwatering pictures in it and let him choose a recipe - with only very little guidance in getting to the right chapter, of course. His choice was an American classic: Mississippi Mud Pie!

To my great surprise, this recipe isn't quite as chocolatey as it looks so don't hesitate to up the chocolate/cocoa content. And it's rather nice with vanilla-poached pears, if I might say so myself - after all, marriage is all about compromise!

Mississippi Mud Pie

The ingredients

your favourite shortcrust pastry, enough to thinly line a 20cm-spingform pan

1oog butter
50g dark chocolate, chopped
2-3 tbsp cocoa sifted
1 tsp instant espresso powder
2 small eggs
115g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract (I substituted vanilla sugar for part of the sugar instead)

for serving: chocolate curls and pears poached in vanilla-bean-syrup (optional)

Butter the tart pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Line it with the shortcrust pastry, making a small rim around it. Chill the crust while preparing the filling.

Melt the butter, stir in the chocolate until combined. Stir in cocoa and instant espresso. Set aside

Beat eggs, sugar, and salt until thick and creamy. Add vanilla (if using), sour cream, and golden syrup. Stir in chocolate-butter-mixture.

Pour the filling into the tart shell and fan-bake at 150 degrees Celsius for roughly 25 minutes (check after 20 minutes). It will be done when the filling puffs up and forms a crust. Upon cooling, the filling will sink a little and may crack. On the inside, the filling will be firm but sticky.

The source
Adapted from "Chocolate" by Patricia Lousada

The hint
This pie is quite rich so serve in small doses. We ate it over the course of 3-4 days - texture and taste didn't suffer over time. Once the tart shell starts to soften, slicing will be easier, too.