It is no secret. I have loved you for a long time.
At first, I loved the idea of you, but not the taste. I was an avid orderer of such concoctions as the “Caramel Coretto,” in which your true flavour harmonizes – but unnecessarily so – with the sweetness of caramel and this other, distinguishable but unidentifiable flavour that makes a caramel coretto a caramel coretto.
Then, when I got that job at that cute little patisserie in Wellington, I got to know you. I learned how to coax a deep, caramel coloured stream of espresso into a thick-walled cup and to dollop, blanket and nudge it with the microfoam of steamed milk.
One day alone in New York before I was joined by my now-hubby, with whom I have a different sort of relationship, dearest coffee: do not fret. A Turkish restaurant and a dinner by myself, dishes served to me by a doting waiter free with his food recommendations, but none so memorable as a slice of baklava paired with Turkish coffee. That night I gained an appreciation for your place, oh thick, dark coffee, sipped between bites of impossibly sweet food. May you always accompany my butter tarts.
Coffee, your ever-important role in my life became so much more than I ever would have imagined when I birthed my daughter: I, a self-professed tea lover can now see that there are indeed occasions upon which a truly mind-jarring jolt is necessary in order to go on with the day. Those occasions became also known as every day when I was faced with nursing and loving and co-sleeping with and nurturing a child who wakes every two hours or so on most nights, since she was four months old and with no end in sight. Without you, sweet coffee, I would be a zombie. With your help, I am a very talkative, highly energetic (read: jittery) zombie.
And so, not-so-secret lover of mine, I give you crunchy chocolate cookie crust, silky espresso cream filling, delicate and sweet whipped topping and, because what would I do without you, hot fudge sauce to melt and mingle with.
- 1 1/4 cups Oreo baking crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup espresso
- 3½ tsp. gelatin
- 2¾ cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1¼ cups whipping cream
- 6 tbsp. icing sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 tbsp. corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Press into a 9" baking pan and refrigerate until set.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the still-warm espresso and allow to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a boil, and then set aside.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar to a medium bowl and whisk vigorously, about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is a lemon yellow colour. Whisk in the cornstarch.
- Very slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture, being careful to whisk constantly to avoid "scrambling" the eggs. Pour this into the saucepan you used for the milk and heat on medium-high until it becomes the consistency of set pudding. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Allow the filling to cool completely before adding it to the crust.
- In a large bowl, combine the whipping cream and icing sugar, and beat on high until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, boil the water. Add the melted butter and chocolate to the water, along with the corn syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the chocolate boils, adjust the temperature to hold it just at the boiling point, and allow to simmer for nine minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the chocolate from the heat and cool for fifteen minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge; heat before serving.
- Pour the completed filling into the crust and spread evenly. Add the whipped topping within an hour of serving. Drizzle the hot fudge sauce onto the pie as you serve it. Enjoy!