February 28, 2012

Mush Pie (Cookies & Cream Mousse Pie)

A few years back, I decided to make this peanut butter fudge cookie pie thing for Mother's Day. Or possibly Easter, I don't remember. Anyway, the recipe called for french vanilla instant pudding mix. Which I couldn't find- I've never seen it in the grocery stores around here, but apparently it's common in other places, as I've found a lot of recipes that use it. In my neck of the woods however, it might as well not exist. What I did find was french vanilla instant mousse. Did you know that there was such a thing as instant mousse? I didn't. I grabbed it thinking it was going to be fluffier pudding and that I could use that in place of the pudding mix.

I mixed it up and got something rather mousse-like. I didn't think it would work with the peanut butter, being mousse and not pudding. So I had french vanilla mousse and an Oreo cookie crust. I mixed some leftover cookie crumbs in the mousse, put it in the crust and poured some fudge on it (the peanut butter pie thingy called for fudge on the bottom, so I had it on hand), and it was ugly. I'd been heavy-handed with the fudge and it was lopsided and uneven and just not pretty. I also had no idea what to call it, as I wasn't quite sure what it was. My brother therefore dubbed it Mush Pie.

The Mush Pie may not have been pretty, but boy was it tasty. So tasty that I made it again for the very next holiday/family function. I reduced the fudge on top to just a drizzle and added some more crumbled Oreos on top. I used the instant mousse again, and still called it Mush Pie, even though it was much prettier. Anyone who asked what Mush Pie was was told it was cookies & cream mousse pie.

Mush Pie is the easiest, most decadent dessert that you can make in under an hour. And if you call it cookies & cream mousse pie, it's also the fanciest sounding. There's no baking involved, no ovens need to be turned on or preheated. You can use instant mousse and store-bought fudge and even a pre-made Oreo cookie crust if you want to make it even faster. For this post however, I made my own vanilla mousse. Which turned out to be really freaking easy to make. If you're going to use instant, I recommend Dr. Oetker's French Vanilla Mousse.
Let's start off with the crust. Did you know that this year is Oreo's 100th birthday? It's the perfect excuse for Mush Pie, I'm just saying.
Anyway, the crust is just Oreos and melted butter. I told you this was easy.
Crush up the Oreos in a zip-top bag. Reserve a little bit of the crumbs (about 1 or 2 tablespoons, not too much) to mix in the mousse, and mix the rest with the butter. Press into a pie plate and you have an Oreo crust.
But we're not stopping there. Now comes the hot fudge sauce. I used Smucker's because it was the cheapest. Use your favorite brand. If you want to make your own, I recommend this recipe from Betty Crocker.
Make sure the fudge is warm enough to spread, and spread it carefully along the bottom of the crust. I wasn't being too careful with the measurements, but I used about 1/2 a cup. Now stick it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
For the mousse you need egg whites (room temperature), whipping cream (chilled), sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar. And if you really wanted, you could probably skip the cream of tartar. That just keeps the egg whites from deflating on you.
Now this mousse is actually easy-peasy to make, but it does require a stand mixer and a hand mixer. Or 2 hand mixers. Or 2 stand mixers, if you're rich. I whip the cream in the stand mixer and the egg whites with the hand mixer. No reason; that's just how I roll. Anyway, whip the cream with the vanilla and half the sugar.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar and the rest of the sugar.
Carefully fold the two together, along with the reserved cookie crumbs, and you have your cookies and cream mousse. I told you it was easy.
Spread the mousse into your prepared crust. Now you could stop there, and it would be perfectly yummy, but why would you.
More cookies, more fudge, and you've got a yummy Jackson Pollock. Like you weren't thinking it. Chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Mush Pie (Cookies & Cream Mousse Pie) {Printable Version}
Yield: 8 servings

For the crust:
15 Oreo cookies (chocolate sandwich cookies)
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Approx. ½ cup fudge sauce, warmed

For the mousse:
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 egg whites at room temperature*
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Extra cookies and fudge sauce, to decorate

Prepare the crust: Place the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Dump the cookie crumbs into a mixing bowl. Reserve 1-2 tbsp. of the cookie crumbs, and mix the rest with the melted butter. Press into an ungreased 9” pie plate, allowing the mixture to come up the sides. Carefully spread the fudge sauce on the crust, along the bottom only. Chill in the refrigerator until use.

For the mousse: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whipping cream. Beat on low speed until frothy, stream in half of the sugar (¼ cup) and all of the vanilla extract, and slowly increase the speed to high. Continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Using electric beaters, beat the egg whites on low until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg whites and reserved cookie crumbs into the whipped cream. Do not overmix.

To assemble: Spread the mousse evenly into the prepared pie shell. Roughly crush the extra cookies (I used 3 cookies) and sprinkle them on top of the mousse. Drizzle with the extra fudge sauce and chill 4-6 hours, or overnight.

*Because the egg whites are not cooked, make sure to use pasteurized eggs or egg whites. If using the egg whites that come in a carton, make sure they are suitable for whipping. It will say on the carton if they are not.

Recipe by Kim