This is an instance where the name came to me before the actual dessert! I had to think long and hard to decide what pie would be worthy of such a grand and elegant title. Once I had the concept—a deeply chocolate cookie crust; a creamy, mellow chocolate filling; and a stunning glaze adorned with gold leaf—it took a few tries to get all the textures and flavors just right. It was well worth the effort. What’s more, the chocolate wafers for the crust also double as first class cookies.
Plan Ahead For best flavor, complete the pie 1 day ahead. The chocolate dough, Bavarian cream, and lacquer glaze must each be refrigerated for at least 4 hours in between steps.
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Set 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured pastry mat or piece of parchment. Lightly flour the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangle, using a bench scraper butted up against the sides to make it even. To make cutting easier, slide the shaped dough, still on the pastry mat, onto a flat cookie sheet and set it in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
With a pizza wheel or chef’s knife, cut the dough into roughly 2 inch squares. There will be some remaining irregular shapes, which can bake alongside the squares. Set the dough squares a minimum of 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet. With a fork, pierce each cookie several times to prevent puffing.
Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the wafers cool completely.
While the first batch of wafers is baking, shape the dough for the next batch. The wafers can be stored airtight at room temperature for 7 days, refrigerated for 2 weeks, or frozen for 3 months.
With the handheld mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. (Avoid overbeating because the cream will continue to stiffen once folded into the custard.) Refrigerate while you make the meringue.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining
Using a balloon whisk, fold the egg whites and then the cream into the chocolate custard until uniform in color. Pour the mixture into the prepared shell and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.
Place the pie in the refrigerator and cover it with a large bowl or inverted cake pan. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Scrape the mixture into the pie plate and, using your fingers, begin by pressing the mixture evenly into the bottom and partway up the sides. Press the crumbs up to the top. To help make the bottom even, use a flat-bottom measure or custard cup to smooth the crumbs over the bottom. Press the dough at the juncture where the bottom meets the sides, which often tends to be thicker. Refrigerate the pie shell while making the filling.
If desired, place a few flecks of gold leaf on the glazed surface of the pie.
Just before serving, use a dish towel run under very hot water to wipe the bottom and sides of the pie plate two or three times to loosen the crust. Alternatively, dip the pie plate in a pan of very hot water for several seconds, being careful to go just up to below the rim.
To serve, spoon a dollop of the chocolate whipped cream onto the side of the plate alongside each slice.
Refrigerate, 5 days. Do not freeze, because the texture will become less smooth.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.