Monday, July 11, 2011

French Silk Pie

Jeff and I hosted a barbecue on Saturday night, so I got to make some tasty desserts. I made my peach crumb bars again, this time with cherries (a decent filling, but not worth the effort of pitting and chopping them!), and some oatmeal cookies. I also wanted to do some kind of pie (I'm always looking for an excuse for pie), so I dug out this recipe. I'd made this pie for a summer function at my parents' house last year and it was a huge hit. And this past weekend it didn't disappoint either.

This pie is so easy to make. Just throw things in the stand mixer and go. It takes a bit of time, since each egg needs to be beaten for five minutes, but that meant I could get all my kitchen clean-up done at the same time. The result is a light, fluffy cream pie with just the right hint of chocolate. The raw eggs are what give it the silky texture.

What? Raw eggs, you ask? Yes, this recipe includes raw eggs. But if you're using eggs from a source you trust, it's not so risky an endeavor (my eggs were from these chickens at Cherry Grove Farm). Also, most harmful bacteria lives on the outside of the shells, so if you crack your eggs cleanly, you can keep the inside from having much contact with any germs. And anyway, is eating a few raw eggs any riskier than many of the chemical substances we put into our bodies on a daily basis? I'd rather trust nature . . .

So try this pie at your next cookout. It's fluffy texture is perfect for a summer evening. And you'll get lots of nice compliments from your friends and neighbors, as I did from mine!

French Silk Pie
Adapted from Tracy's Culinary Adventures.

1 9" pie crust (recipe below)
1/2 c butter, room temperature
3/4 c + 1 tsp sugar
1 oz bittersweet chocolate (doesn't sound like much, but it's enough)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp cornstarch

Bake your pie crust first and let cool.

Chop your chocolate and melt it using a double boiler (I use a metal bowl on top of a pot, as you can see below). Cool slightly.

Use a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Add one egg and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the second egg and beat another 5 minutes. The mixture should be light and smooth.

Pour the chocolate into a pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (I let mine set up for a few hours before adding the whipped cream).

Using a mixer (I sometimes prefer my hand mixer for whipped cream), whip the cream, 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp cornstarch (the cornstarch helps the cream maintain its texture, but don't add too much or it will taste funny!). Spread whipped cream over the chocolate filling. Garnish with shaved chocolate and serve!

Single Pie Crust
From The Baking Bites Cookbook. (I've posted this crust recipe before, but did not include the pre-baking information, so here it is again!)

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
8 tbsp cold butter, cut into small chunks
4-5 tbsp ice water (using the food processor, 4 is enough)

Combine your flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the chunks of butter and pulse until no pieces larger than a pea remain. Add ice water and mix until the dough comes together as a ball. (If you don't have a food processor, combine the butter with the flour mixture using your hands or a pastry cutter.) Form the dough into a small disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for at least one hour before using.

Prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Line the inside of the crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 25 minutes at 375°, until lightly browned. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the edges are medium brown. Cool before filling.

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