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The winter holiday season is filled to the brim with decadent desserts – rich brownies, cookies piled high with frosting and a la mode pie as far as the eye can see.  While it is tempting to swear off treats entirely following several weeks of such sugary bliss, anyone with a sweet tooth can attest to just much easier that’s said than done.  This dark chocolate mousse is a light and airy change of pace.  Paired with a hazelnut crumb crust and a hint of orange, it’s a great way to satisfy those cravings for dessert without totally demolishing your resolutions about watching what you eat.

Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse Pie

  Serves: 8

  Prep. Time: 30 minutes

  Cook Time: ​20 minutes

  Difficulty: ​ Medium

What You Do

1. In a food processor, finely grind the flour, sugar, nuts, and salt (if using).  Add the butter and cut in by pulsing the processor until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add the egg yolk and continue to pulse just until moist clumps form (do not allow dough to form ball). 


2. Grease a 10-inch round glass pie dish. Press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of prepared
pie dish (crust will be about 1/4 inch thick). Using your thumb, press the dough into the corners and up the sides of the dish. Chill the crust for at least 1 hour.


3. Preheat oven to 375°F and set rack in center position.  Bake crust approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool crust completely on rack. (Note: You can make the crust up to 1 day ahead of time. Store the baked crust in an airtight container at room temperature.)


4. Combine the chocolate, orange liqueur, 1/4 cup water, and the vanilla in a double boiler and heat until chocolate is just melted; stirring frequently.  (If you don’t have a double-boiler, you can use a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.)  Remove from the heat and cool completely to room temperature. Whisk in the orange zest and butter until combined. 


5. Place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed for a few minutes, or until very thick and pale yellow. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate mixture. 


6. Place 1 cup of egg whites (save or discard the rest), the salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small mixing bowl and beat on high speed until firm peaks form. Whisk 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture; then fold the rest in carefully with a rubber spatula. 


7. Without cleaning the bowl or beaters, whip the heavy cream and the remaining tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form.


8. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mousse into the pie shell and chill for several hours or until firm.


9. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

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What You Need


1 1/4 c. All purpose flour 

1/2 c. Powdered sugar 

1/2 c. Raw or lightly roasted hazelnuts; husks removed

1/4 tsp. Salt (if all you can find are
salted hazelnuts, eliminate this)

1/2 c. Chilled unsalted butter; cut into
1/2-inch cubes

2 Large egg yolks



8 oz. Dark or bittersweet chocolate; chopped roughly
1/4 c. Orange liqueur (such as Grand
1/4 c. Water
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Grated orange zest
1 1/2 Sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
8 Extra-large eggs; at room temperature and separated
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. Sugar
Pinch kosher salt 

1/2 c. Cold heavy cream