When my daughter's birthday rolls around, I usually ask her if there is anything special she'd like in the way of a birthday dessert. When she was little, those requests tended to focus on the decoration of a cake (who can forget the My Little Pony cake that she swore tasted like pony?), but as time went on, things got more interesting and everything from pink donuts to cheesecake made their way into the request line. This year? She asked for the flavor combination of chocolate and strawberries and I had a blast with it.
Now, this ended up being a birthday pie, but it works well for any special occasion. With Mother's Day and many anniversaries just around the corner, you might consider showcasing it right about then. If you don't happen to have the nifty chocolate hearts for decorating, choose other candies, sprinkle the pie with mini chocolate chips, or grate your favorite dark chocolate over the top of the pie.
I cannot stress how delightfully decadent this pie is. Of course, one of my very favorite flavor combinations of all time is chocolate and strawberry, so I have to smile and say my kid is setting her goals pretty well as she finishes up her time in elementary school!
- To make the filling, add about 1 inch of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; lower the heat to medium-low. Place the butter and 4 oz. of chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl and set it on top of the saucepan holding the hot water. Make certain the bowl does not touch the water. Cook the chocolate and butter stirring occasionally, until melted. Add in the diced cream cheese and continue to stir until the cheese melts and blends with the chocolate forming a smooth, silky mixture. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the lemon juice. Once the lemon juice is mixed in, add the powdered sugar and stir to combine. Cool the chocolate filling in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- While the filling cools, prepare the ganache. In a microwaveable glass bowl, add the 6 oz. of chocolate chips and ⅓ cup of heavy cream. Microwave it for about 90 seconds, stopping to stir every 20-30 seconds. Pour the ganache over the bottom of the chocolate crust and arrange the whole, hulled strawberries over the ganache, tops facing up. Slice any remaining strawberries in half and reserve for decorating the top of the pie. Refrigerate the crust for 5 more minutes.
- While the ganache is setting, finish the chocolate filling. In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, add the 1 cup of heavy cream. With the whisk attachment on, whip the cream until firm peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold into the chilled chocolate mixture from the refrigerator.
- Spoon the chocolate filling over the strawberries and smooth the top.
- Arrange the chocolate hearts and sliced strawberries on top of the pie in a circular pattern and chill for at least 4 hours before cutting the pie into slices.
- Yields: 8-12 servings
- Preparation Time: 45 minutes