makes one pie 8” x 1½” (I used a deep-dish quiche pan with removable bottom)
3 ounces of good quality halvah
one navel orange)
Prepare the Cointreau-soaked Dates and Walnuts
1 cup Medjool dates, halved, pitted, cut in quarters
3 tablespoons Cointreau
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup toasted walnut pieces
In a small bowl, combine the dates, Cointreau and orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Just before ready to serve, stir in the walnut pieces.
(Pie Crust instructions adapted from Athens Foods)
12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, (each measures 17” x 12”) thawed (keep it covered with a lightly damp paper towel and a sheet of plastic wrap
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup finely ground walnuts combined with 2 tablespoons of sugar
Use a pastry brush to thoroughly butter the sides and bottom of the quiche pan. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. You will be working with one sheet of phyllo at a time; keep the rest of it covered with a lightly damp paper towel and a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Place one sheet of phyllo horizontally on the parchment paper, lightly butter it, sprinkle it lightly with 1 teaspoon of the ground walnuts/sugar mixture, then take another sheet of phyllo and lay it vertically over the first one, creating a “+” sign. Lightly butter the second sheet of phyllo and sprinkle it lightly with 1 teaspoon of the ground walnuts/sugar mixture. Take another sheet of phyllo and carefully place it diagonally over the first two sheets, lightly butter it, sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon walnuts/sugar then add another sheet, placing it diagonally, creating an “x.” Use two hands to transfer the stacked phyllo sheets into the quiche pan. (Don’t worry if you have a slight tear; you can cover it up with the next layer.) Lightly butter the sheet, sprinkle with walnuts/sugar. Continue adding one phyllo sheet at a time, lightly buttering each sheet, sprinkling with walnuts/sugar, placing each sheet diagonally, lining the pan and leaving an overhang of phyllo. Each sheet of phyllo should slightly overlap, creating a crust. (The wide end of a chopstick is helpful in tucking the phyllo into the fluted edges of the pan. Be gentle.) Carefully gather the overhang, turn it under slightly to create a ruffled edge. Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap any remaining phyllo sheets in plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Carefully place the quiche pan (remember- it has a removable bottom) on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool completely while you prepare the filling.
Dark Chocolate filling (adapted from Cooks Country and 250 Superb Pies)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (Medaglia D’Oro)
3 large eggs
pinch of salt
¾ cup sugar, (quick spin in the food processor with blade attachment so it’s fine)
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, cooled
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Trader Joe’s 72% dark)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine heavy cream and espresso powder in a large mixing bowl. Whip cream on medium until thick, then increase to high and whip until stiff. Cover and refrigerate.
In a large heatproof bowl set over barely simmering water, whisk together eggs, salt, sugar, zest and coffee. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until mixture registers 160 degrees; this will take a good 8-10 minutes. Remove bowl from over the simmering water and beat until thick and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Beat in melted/cooled chocolate and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Using a rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream until no streaks remain. Turn the filling into the cooled pie shell, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove pie from pan ring and set on serving plate. Garnish with mascarpone whipped cream* and shaved halvah**. Serve with Cointreau dates, walnuts and fresh orange segments. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
½ cup mascarpone
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, soften the mascarpone using a rubber scraper. Add the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Use a hand-held mixer to beat the cream until thick. (Do not overbeat.)
**Use a grater or peeler to shave the halvah onto parchment or wax paper