Sunday, July 24, 2011
Chocolate Dream Pie with a Shortbread Crust...For a Crowd
I made this for my dad on Father's Day. It was the first time I've actually been able to spend Father's Day with him in over ten years so I wanted to make a dessert he would really love. He did, as did my husband and myself.
You really can't put this one into words. It's rich yet light (not in the caloric sense, of course) and despite being mostly 'from the box' tastes completely homemade and special. In fact there's only one problem with it - if left alone with the pan you might start eating it and never stop. I had a vision of myself sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night, pulling the pan from the fridge and lifting it up over my head like Sloth from The Goonies.
Chocolate rain, y'all. Chocolate rain...
Chocolate Dream Pie with a Shortbread Crust
*Downside - easy to do but involves a few steps, mixing bowls and remembering to leave out butter and cream cheese long enough to soften.
*Upside - can make 1 day ahead and keep in the refrigerator. Makes a boatload.
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened (at room temp)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finally chopped
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large container (12 oz) Cool whip, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium bananas, sliced or 3 cups sliced strawberries, OPTIONAL
2 (3.9 oz) pkgs chocolate pudding mix
1 quart cold whole milk
whole pecans, for garnish OR berries or banana slices
Good quality dark chocolate bar, for shaving or grating over finished pie
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream softened butter in a standing mixer or by hand, slowly stir in flour until incorporated then nuts. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch glass or ceramic baking pan. Just take your time and press gently until an even, cohesive layer forms. It looks like it won't be enough dough but it is. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is just lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Beat softened cream cheese in a large mixing bowl or mixer until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar, beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of cool whip and the vanilla extract. Spread this mixture evenly over the cooled shortbread crust.
OPTIONAL - spread slices of banana or strawberry over the cream cheese layer.
In a separate bowl, beat or whisk the pudding mix with the cold milk according to the directions on package. Let set for a couple minutes, then spread over the bananas or strawberries (if using, otherwise spread over the cream cheese/Cool Whip layer.) Let set up another 5 minutes.
Finally, spread over the remaining Cool Whip until even and pretty.
Garnish with shaved chocolate, additional whole pecans and/or fruit. Chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator or overnight before serving, covered in plastic wrap.