Baking on Friday (No Baking Edition): French Silk Chocolate Pie

Oh my GOSH!  This was absolutely to die for . . . certainly, it was worth killing for.  If you are a chocolate lover (and if you aren't, are you crazy???), you will love this dessert.  I found the recipe in a free trial issue of Cook's Country magazine, which is published by the same folks who publish Cook's Illustrated.  I really like their magazines because they teach you how to make their recipes, rather than just giving you a list of ingredients and instructions and leaving you to figure out the techniques on your own.  I don't subscribe to Cook's Country, although this recipe might convince me that it's worthwhile.  I do, however, subscribe to Cook's Illustrated.  Even though I'm letting a number of my magazine subscriptions lapse, I am holding on to Cook's Illustrated.

But on with the recipe!  This was so light and delicious.  It takes a bit of muscle to make it because you'll need to hang onto your hand mixer for a good ten minutes or so.  However, once it's made, it goes into the refrigerator.  The only baking required is making a pie shell.  I used the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust available in the grocery store.  Nothing could be simpler.

Now, I must digress.  (Using my gossipy voice now.)  I have to tell you about a catty little interaction with my former sister-in-law.  When I made a dessert using a frozen pie shell, she let me know that her husband (my brother-in-law) would never have settled for a frozen pie crust.  (Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.  What was I thinking?)  The next time I made a dessert for them, I used one of these refrigerated pie crusts.  She allowed as how "buttery" it was!  One of the most satisfying moments of my entire life was responding with, "It's Pillsbury!"  Yes, catty, I know.  But I like cats, so why not act like one?

But really now.  On with the recipe:

French Silk Chocolate Pie
Serves 8

1 cup heavy cream -- chilled
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate -- melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter -- cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
1 (9 inch) pie shell -- baked and cooled

1.  Whip Cream: With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to stiff peaks, 2-3 minutes. Transfer whipped cream to a small bowl and refrigerate.

2.  Beat Eggs: Combine eggs, sugar, and water in large heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan filled with 1-inch barely simmering water (don't let bowl touch water). With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until egg mixture is thickened and registers 160 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

3.  Beat, Fold, Cool: Add chocolate and vanilla to cool egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, until well-combined. Using a spatula, fold in whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling into pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Oh wow.  This is heavenly.  Really!
Here are my notes about the recipe:  I mentioned the pie crust.  You can make your own, but the Pillsbury crust works just fine.  I baked mine a little longer than the instructions on the box, and I lined it with foil and filled it with pie weights (dry beans work too, but then they no longer work as beans).  In my experience, baking a pie shell without weights will allow it to shrink and crack when you try to use it. 
Although step 2 tells you to put the egg mixture over "barely simmering water," I found this to be unbearably slow.  I think it's important to start out with barely simmering water, but once the eggs have fluffed up and thickened, you can turn up to heat to bring them up to temperature faster.  I wanted to finish making it while I was still alive.  It's necessary to bring the egg mixture up to temperature so that you're not eating raw eggs.  By doing it slowly this way, you can cook the eggs without scrambling them.
Then, when I took the egg mixture off the heat, I put it in my regular stand mixer and used the whisk attachment to do all the remaining steps.  It kept the eggs and whipped cream inflated, and I ended up with a light, fluffy, and delicious pie.
One last thing I learned recently:  Use good baking chocolate, and not chocolate chips.  Chocolate chips have stabilizers added to them, and your results will not be as satisfying.
It's a little time-consuming, and it makes a lot of dirty bowls, but your efforts and your patience will be rewarded . . . I guarantee it!

3 comments from clever and witty friends:

quiltzyx said...

Looks delish!! I need to go rustle up some chocolate right now!!!!

Irina said...

yep! I'll try this one!

LethargicLass said...

I can't eat pie crusts but I just found sweet little chocolate dessert cups in the store, this sounds perfect to fill them with :)