Apologies for the over week-long wait on the French Silk pie, the star of Pi(e) Day 2010. However, we didn’t even get to tuck into the pie until the middle of this week, due to an unfortunate dental issue (the husband’s, not mine). Thanks to an emergency root canal and a temporary crown (permanent cap to be installed in April – until then, no caramel for Cullen), things are all better. And naturally, we celebrated this dental salvation with big pieces of rich, homemade chocolate pie.
We’re well-known for our smart decisions around these parts.
I wanted to use this recipe, in keeping with my declaration to start testing some of the recipes I’ve tagged on delicious. Unfortunately, reading through it and looking through my kitchen – I don’t regularly keep pasteurized eggs in the house, and I wasn’t really thrilled on using uncooked eggs in a refrigerated pie. So I followed the recipe in my BHG cookbook, which is similar (to a point) to the recipe that the author recommended for a cooked recipe.
The French Silk pie here is like many things in life: a little extra work, but very much worth every bit of effort. There is, of course, the baking of the empty crust on its own, since you don’t bake the filling. Making the filling reminded me of ganache in the beginning (because it is) and a custard at the end (because it is). Then there’s the use of an ice-water bath to set up the filling and beating the filling until it’s light and fluffy before spreading it into the crust. BHG tells you to cook the filling on direct heat; I took the safe route and made a double boiler to create the ganache and thicken the final mixture. Also, in the future, I’ll mix semisweet with milk chocolate – the pie as is written here is super-rich and very good, but almost too rich for our tastes.
The worst part is probably the waiting. Who ever heard of waiting 5-24 hours for a slice of pie?! But oh, it’s worth it. So very worth it.
French Silk Pie
paraphrased from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th ed.
1 9″ deep-dish pastry shell, baked
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces (6 oz)
1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 Tbsp)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 Tbsp crème de cacao/whipping cream
Prepare the pastry shell and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate, butter and sugar and cook over low heat (OR combine the 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate, butter and sugar in a metal or glass bowl and cook over a medium saucepan with 1″ of water on medium-low heat) until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and temper your egg yolks with the chocolate mixture carefully. Return egg mixture to remaining chocolate mixture and return saucepan/double boiler to stovetop. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat, stir in crème de cacao or whipping cream and place the saucepan/bowl in an ice bath, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens and is hard to stir (20-30 minutes). Transfer mixture to a medium bowl (if necessary) and beat cooled mixture on medium to high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread filling in pastry shell, then cover and refrigerate pie a minimum of 5 hours. To serve, top with whipped cream, and, if desired, chocolate curls.
Keep in mind that the double boiler will produce a perfectly desirable result without worrying about the possibility of scalding the cream. If you cook it over direct heat, the cookbook tells you that after the second cooking before you mix in the crème de cacao, the mixture may separate, and that’s okay. I didn’t have that problem with the double boiler.
Other than that, enjoy your French Silk pie with someone you love—or hoard it all for yourself. Either way, it’s divine.