I love the combination of pistachio and chocolate. These mini pies are made with a filling of pistachio pudding nestled in a chocolate-flavored graham cracker crust. To accentuate the chocolate flavor, I added a thin layer of Nutella in between.
For the pistachio cream, I made a hassle-free pudding using pistachio-flavored Jell-O instant pie filling. I've made pistachio pudding in the past using corn starch, half and half and pâte de pistache but the pistachio flavor doesn't come as well. So why go through the headache when the Jell-O product tastes better?
You could top the mini pies with meringue or whipped cream but I thought it wasn't necessary, so I decorated them with crushed pistachios. Voilà!
Servings: 18 mini pies
7 squares chocolate-flavored graham crackers (6-½ full sheets)
2 teaspoons oil, in a spray bottle
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla powder (optional)
3 tablespoons Nutella, warm
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant pistachio pudding
1-3/4 cups whole milk
3 ounces roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts , shelled
For the pistachio cream pie filling:
In a bowl, whisk the pistachio pudding powder with cold milk until thickened. Set aside and chill in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
Making the pie crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Crush the graham crackers down to a fine crumb. I use a mortar and pestle; it's ok if there are some larger crumbs. Gather about 3/4 cup ground graham crackers. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla power (if used). Soften the butter and add it to the crumbs. You should be able to press the graham crackers with your hands into a cohesive mass.
Lightly oil the non-stick petit four pans. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the molds.
Bake the pie shells for 10 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
For the Nutella:
For easy spreading, heat the Nutella in the microwave (or in a water-bath in a saucepan) for about 1-2 minutes, so it's warm.
Brush a thin layer of Nutella in the bottom of each mold (see tips).
Place the pistachio filling in a piping bag. Pipe or spoon the filling into the molds. Place the petit fours in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
In a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush the pistachio kernels.
When you're ready to serve, run a small paring knife around the inner wall of the pan. Gently remove the pie (it should come right off) and transfer onto a serving plate. Decorate the mini pies by sprinkling the pistachios.
I served them with basil mint lemonade.
I used Safeway brand (14.4-ounce package) graham crackers.
I buy pure vanilla powder at my local market, called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, California.
I brush a little Nutella in the bottom of each pie crust so it doesn't become soggy. When chilled, the Nutella acts like a sealant to the pie when the pistachio filling is added.
I prefer making miniature sweets, so they're bite sized. But you could make a large pie as well.
I bought the non-stick petit four pans at Williams-Sonoma in the Stanford Shopping Center, in Palo Alto, California. These pans are very hard to find. It's a set of thirty with 5 different shapes, all made in France. It cost $26.