31 Oct Howling at the Moon Pie – Recipe
Many years ago, in a review of our restaurant, Rattlesnake Grill, the Sydney Morning Herald headline for the article was “Howling at the Moon Pie”. The food critic, Terry Durack, called our Moon Pie “the world’s first self-perpetuating dessert” noting that the ice cream just begged for chocolate chip biscuit crust and meringue, which of course absolutely demanded some of the lush chocolate chilli sauce, which brought you back to wanting some of the ice cream.
I created the Moon Pie with a dear chef friend, Joe Merriman, many years ago for my restaurant Blue Moon. The Moon Pie was given new life at Rattlesnake Grill with the addition of chocolate chilli sauce – at the time, most Aussies had never even imagined anything like it. But, they soon loved it.
The Moon Pie became legendary, with great stories of people like the woman celebrating her 80th birthday with her family. She ordered a piece of Moon Pie, though none of her family ordered dessert. When Moon Pie hit the table, she promptly grabbed the plate and her cutlery and headed to another table and ate it by herself!
Do you think we should add this to our Hot Chocolate (and more!) team building cooking class menu? 😮
We now get requests for the recipe from from former patrons of Rattlesnake Grill all over the world. So, in memory of that wonderful headline and description of the Moon Pie we thought Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to share this all with you. Happy Halloween!
Rattlesnake Grill Moon Pie
250 gm chocolate chip cookies
90 gm butter, melted
65 gm sliced almonds (or other nut)
2 cups chocolate ice cream
2 cups vanilla ice cream
2 cups boysenberry ice cream (or other berry)
385 ml egg whites (about 1 doz)
¼ tbsp cream of tartar
310 gm caster sugar
310 gm confectioners sugar
Chocolate Chilli Sauce
200 gm couverture chocolate
185 ml thickened cream
½ tsp cayenne chilli powder
- Use a food processor to grind the cookies and nuts until they are fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse, about 10 times, or just until combined and the mixture holds together when squeezed.
- Grease a deep 25 cm (10”) aluminium foil pie pan. Add the crust mix. Using the back of a large spoon, press the mix tightly to the pie pan. Put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm.
- Take the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften, about 10 minutes. It should be just workable, but not runny.
- Doing chocolate first, then vanilla and then boysenberry, layer the ice cream into the crust, smoothing each with your hands or a spatula. You will over-top the crust, so round the top layers down at the sides.
- Return the whole pie to the freezer for at least 4 hours until set.
- Let the egg whites sit until they reach room temperature. Using a mixer on high, beat the whites a couple of minutes until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks start to form. Start adding the sugar by the spoonful, caster sugar first, then the confectioners sugar and continue beating until very stiff peaks form.
- Remove the pie from the freezer just when ready to top. Spread the meringue, building up to the middle until you’ve achieved a 1950’s style beehive hairdo. Use a spatula to form peaks and whorls in the finish.
- Either bake in a pre-heated 230 C oven until just lightly browned, or use a gas torch to glaze and brown the meringue – don’t get too close! Return to the freezer immediately.
- Combine the cream, chilli and chocolate in the top of a double-boiler over low heat. Stir often for 3-4 minutes, until the chocolate almost all melts. Remove the mix from the heat. Continue to stir until all melted.
- Use a large chefs knife or cheese knife heated in hot water to slice the pie down through the pie dish into 8 pieces. Serve with the chocolate chilli sauce.
Note: Yes, that’s a lot of egg whites, but the Moon Pie is a showgirl!
Serves 16 (people usually share!)
Bonus preparation tips:
1. You can use any ice cream you like.
2. It’s important that when you make the meringue that it’s really really stiff. Like turn the bowl upside down, if it doesn’t fall out perfect.
3. When you build up the meringue, go fast. Bring it up high on the sides and twirl it around so it has some style.
4. Blow torch it is the best to get good colour easily and not having to worry about a oven but if you get your oven really hot and toss it in quickly it should colour for you in about 3 minutes. Just keep an eye on it so you don’t burn the meringue or melt the ice cream.
5. Make sure your freezer is high enough to hold the pie once it topped . This can be a big issue if you haven’t made sufficient room.
6. I always used a big cheese knife like those used to cut a wheel of cheese to cut the pies. Once it’s out of the freezer, let it stand a few minutes till it warms up, but not too long so it doesn’t melt. It may take two of you to do the cutting.
7. This actually is a very simple recipe but it’s logistics you have to think about. You may have to try a few times before getting it right.
8. We used the chocolate chilli sauce to finish it when served, but again you can use what you like.
9. Now you must let me know when you make it, take a photo and please post on our facebook page