With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I thought this would be an unusual and stunning Latino dessert for your festivities. The challenging part of the recipe is over having made the churro pie shell.
This posting is for making the bottom chocolate ganache and the upper cajeta mousse fillings, and assembling the churro pie.
Plan Ahead The chocolate ganache needs 3 hours or longer to become a thickened consistency to pour or spread into the shell. The completed pie needs 3 to 4 hours for the cajeta mousse filling to set before serving.
* The ganache filling only needs 355 grams/1-1/2 cups. The extra ganache is incase you need to fill in gaps in the churro crust.
Mise en Place
* Coarsely chop the chocolate.
* Into a 2 cup glass measure with a spout, or in a small saucepan, weigh or measure the cream.
* Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a medium glass bowl.
Make the Ganache
1) In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine.
2) In the glass measure in a microwave, (or saucepan over medium heat, stirring often) scald the cream the cream (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around the periphery).
3) With the motor running, pour the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Pulse in the vanilla.
4) Press the ganache through the strainer into the bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. Then cover with plastic wrap until it thickens but still has some flow, until ready to assemble the pie.
The ganache can be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 2 weeks; frozen, 3 months.
* Make the cajeta mousse just after filling the pie shell with the ganache.
Sheet Gelatin Method
1) Weigh or measure the cream and vanilla into a stand mixer bowl. Cover and refrigerate with the whisk attachment alongside for 15 minutes.
2) In a small bowl, bloom the gelatin with the ice water for about 4 to 6 minutes
3) In a medium saucepan, heat the cajeta on low heat until it is slightly fluid.
4) Lift out the bloomed gelatin and set it on the cajeta. With a silicone spatula, lightly stir until gelatin is fully dissolved.
5) Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cajeta mixture to cool until warm to the touch, around 120˚F/49˚C.
6) Starting on low speed and gradually raising the speed to medium-high, whip the cream just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.
7) Using a large silicone spatula or slotted skimmer fold the cajeta mixture in two parts into the whipped cream until uniform, to create a mousse.
Powdered Gelatin Method
1) Weigh or measure 261 grams/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/257 ml of the cream and the vanilla into a stand mixer bowl. Cover and refrigerate with the whisk attachment alongside for 15 minutes.
2) In a small saucepan, measure in the gelatin. Gradually whisk in the remaining cream (87 grams/1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/87 ml).
3) On medium heat, bring the cream gelatin mixture just to a boil, stirring constantly. It will thicken slightly.
4) Scrape the mixture into a 1 cup glass measure with a spout and set a piece of plastic wrap on top. Allow it to cool just until warm to the touch, around 120˚F/49˚C.
5) In a medium saucepan, heat the cajeta on low heat until slightly fluid.
6) On medium speed, whip the refrigerated cream just until traces of the beater marks begin to show.
7) Add the cooled but still warm gelatin mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Increase to medium-high speed, and whip just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.
8) Using a large silicone spatula or slotted skimmer, fold the cajeta in two parts into the whipped cream until uniform to create a mousse.
Assemble the Churro Pie
* If there are any gaps in the pie shell, use a spoon or offset spatula to fill them in with ganache. Chill the churro pie shell for several minutes to set the ganache.
Churro Crust Coating
* Set the churro pie shell on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
1) In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
2) In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
3) Brush the butter to coat the inside and bottom of the pie shell. Spoon a few tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar onto the bottom. With both hands holding the pie shell, tilt and rotate it to coat the shell’s inside lightly with the cinnamon sugar. Empty out any excess sugar.
4) Brush the butter to coat the outside of the shell. Set the pie shell on its side and spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar on the top of the pie shell’s side. With your hand, brush the sugar onto the shell, rotating it as needed, applying more sugar and brushing it to cover the sides. The bottom of the shell is uncoated.
* You will have some leftover butter and cinnamon sugar.
5) Scrape the ganache into the pie shell. Smooth its surface with an offset spatula. The ganache will fill the shell about 3/4 inch (or less if any was used to fill in gaps).
6) Let the ganache firm up, at room temperature, to support the cajeta mousse, about 30 minutes to 2 hours.
7) Spoon the cajeta mousse over the ganache layer. Depending on the shell’s size, the mousse will be almost level with the rim of the pie shell, or there will be a little leftover. Smooth its surface with an offset spatula. If desired, add a design using a turntable and an offset spatula.
8) Place the completed churro pie in the refrigerator for about 2 to 4 hours, or until the gelatin sets.
Garnish with a sprinkling of lime zest or dust to give it flavor and color contrast.
Store: Uncovered: refrigerated, 2 days.
* Ariela makes her ganache in the traditional manner using equal weight of chocolate and heavy cream. We prefer making ganache in a food processor which melts the chocolate just enough during processing with the hot cream.
* For a slightly sweeter and less dense ganache, use 60% to 64%. Our preferred chocolates are Valrhona and Guittard.
* Two methods are given for using the sheet and powdered gelatin to bloom the gelatin without adding water to the mousse.