milk chocolate caramel mousse pie with pretzel crust.

You know that moment, when you’re sitting at a fairly nice restaurant, having finished your dinner, and you’re sitting really pretty…

And the waiter saunters over and asks politely, “Are you ladies and gents interested in dessert tonight?”

Everyone looks around the table sheepishly.

The guys at the table scrunch their noses and look around at each other like “nahhh…”

“Ehhh no thanks, just coffee is fine,” one of them says.

Um, NEWS FLASH!!

ATTENTION, MEN OUT THERE: Your wife / fiancée / girlfriend / mom / sister / daughter / friend-who-is-a-girl is ALWAYS interested in dessert. You hear me?

Even if it’s just a teeny-tiny bite. She wants a bite of something, I tell you.

Do her a favor and order the menu item that has chocolate in it.

And she will love you forever.

Thankfully, I had the courage to order dessert myself this time around.

I mean, what’s a girl to do? The dessert menu was absolutely drool-worthy.

It’d be like, rude NOT to order dessert.

“Ahem..” I interrupt. “We’ll take one slice of the chocolate mousse pie, please. With 4 forks.”

That pie was inhaled in about three seconds…

Oh so they weren’t hungry, eh?…

I dreamt about that mousse pie with pretzel crust and salted caramel ever since I left that restaurant, especially since I adore anything that combines salty with sweet.

So, you can probably guess by now that I re-imagined it for myself at home.

Let’s just say, this pie speaks for itself.

Meaning, I caught Mr. Peaches with refrigerator door open, cake plate on counter, fork in one hand, chocolate-covered pretzel in other hand, pie in mouth, eyes closed, and smiling.

So I’d say it’s just as tempting as the restaurant’s version, but even more so, because it’s living steps away in MY FRIDGE.

Do it, people.

You won’t regret it.

xoxo,
peaches & cake

Milk Chocolate Caramel Mousse Pie with Pretzel Crust
Makes 2 pies, about 16-20 servings
Inspired by the menu at Chicago Q
Mousse adapted from
Pastry Pal; pretzel crust adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Time: 45 minutes prep + overnight to set up + 15 minutes for garnish

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Ingredients:

PRETZEL CRUST
3 cups salted mini pretzel twists
8 graham crackers (1 sleeve, or 7.2 oz)
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. firmly packed  light brown sugar
cooking spray

MOUSSE
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into lumps
3 cups heavy cream, divided into 2 cups and 1 cup
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. high-quality milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)

GARNISH
20-24 salted pretzels
¼ cup milk chocolate chips, melted

Instructions:

PRETZEL CRUST

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor add pretzels, graham crackers, butter and brown sugar.  Pulse for about 30 seconds or until well incorporated. (Alternatively, you can make the pretzel and graham cracker crumbs by crushing in a Ziploc bag then mixing the crumbs with the butter and brown sugar with a spatula until well incorporated.)
  3. Divide mixture between two 8 or 9-inch pie plate or springform cake pans coated with cooking spray (Springform pans are better for presentation). Even the crust out by pressing down with the back of spoon or spatula.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze until filling.

MOUSSE

1. Make the caramel: sprinkle a thin layer of sugar in a pan (preferably stainless steel) set over medium-high heat. No need to stir at this point.

2. Sprinkle in more sugar. The heat of the already melted sugar will start melting the new addition right away.

3. Keep adding until all the sugar is in, about 4 or 5 additions. It will melt quickly and the edges will color faster than the center. Swirl the pan around to get the sugar to caramelize more evenly. Swirl and stir with a whisk for a few minutes until the sugar turns amber.

4. Working quickly to avoid burning the sugar, sprinkle in the butter lumps and whisk them in.

5. Whisk the 1 cup of cream gradually, in 2 or 3 additions. The cream will sputter and bubble when it comes in contact with the hot sugar. Some of the sugar will seize and harden a little, but keep whisking. It will dissolve. Stir in the vanilla extract.  Once smooth, remove pan from heat and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, take the remaining 2 cups of cream, and whip it to soft peak with a hand electric mixer. Put into the refrigerator to chill.

7. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals until melted, mixing between nukes.

8. Once melted, and stir in all but about 4 Tbsp. of the caramel (you may need to transfer the mixture a larger bowl). Reserve the remaining caramel in a small Tupperware container in the fridge for garnishing the pie later.

9. Using a hand electric mixer, whisk the mixture until glossy, smooth, and creamy. Let the mixture rest until lukewarm or cooler. (If you try to proceed with the recipe while the chocolate-caramel mixture is too warm, it will turn soupy.)

10. Scoop about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the bowl and gently fold it into the cooled chocolate-caramel mixture with a spatula. This will help lighten the dense chocolate and ensure better incorporation of the whipped cream. Add the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold it in, just until all the cream is incorporated. It will still be quite loose, but should have the body of a very thick chocolate drink. Pour into the crusts and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow it to set up.

GARNISH

1. Melt ¼ cup milk chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip pretzels halfway into chocolate and set aside on a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the fridge until the chocolate is cooled and hardened.

2. Remove pie from springform pan, if using, and carefully transfer to a cake plate. Garnish the pie with chocolate-dipped pretzels. Nuke the reserved caramel in the microwave for a few seconds, then drizzle over the pie. (If desired, transfer the warmed caramel to a Ziploc bag and snip the tip of the bag with a scissors. Then squeeze out the caramel.)

3. Serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tomorrow, we eat vegetables.

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