January 10, 2010

::SMS:: Chocolate Pie Crust

This week's SMS recipe, which also gave us a chance to use an additional recipe outside of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, was chosen by Donna of L’Amour de Tarte. There are so many great fillings that can be made with a chocolate pie crust... I decided to make a chocolate cream pie because it's on My 100 list (#54).

The Pie Crust -- Part One (Recipe can be found on Donna's blog.)
I hate making pie crusts. I've never had ANY luck with making a crust and I've tried quite a few times. Whenever I need to make a pie, I just buy those frozen pie crusts. When this recipe selection came along, I guess it was time to bite the bullet and try again. *sigh* I was NOT optimistic. In her cookbook, Melissa recommends a pastry cutter. She writes that if you don't own one, go buy one because they're inexpensive. I'm sure they are... but... like i said, I hate making pie crusts, so why bother, right? Shhhhhh.... don't tell Melissa... but I used a large serving fork. *gasp!* I KNOW!

I placed the butter, shortening and water into the freezer about 20 minutes before I started making the dough because Melissa stresses that very cold ingredients will help making a pie crust and I have to say the dough came together pretty easily. I used 1/4 cup of sugar, instead of the 2 tablespoons because a few of the bakers who made this early said it was bland. Then I popped it into the fridge and started the chocolate filling.

The Chocolate Filling - I went with a King Arthur Flour recipe.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, divided
2 cups milk

  • Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.
  • Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.
  • Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.
  • Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.

The Pie Crust -- Part Two
This has to be the main reason why I hate making pie crusts... the rolling. This time around I learned from my mistakes and rolled the dough in between two sheets of waxed paper, with a lot of flour tossed around everywhere. It eventually came out... wasn't exactly round and definitely was not that much larger than my 9-inch pie plate. Crimping? Pffft.... NOT! I tucked in any overhang. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and Voila!

Next, pour the chilled filling into the cooled, baked pie crust. Level the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.

The Topping - I went with King Arthur Flour's Meringue topping:
3 large egg whites (reserved from filling)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
  • Place the egg whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters. Add the pinch of salt.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Whip the egg whites until they turn white and the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl. Slowly add the hot sugar syrup, and continue beating until the whites make stiff peaks.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Pipe or spoon the meringue over the top of the filled, chilled pie, making sure you cover the filling completely.
  • Place the pie in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the top of the meringue is golden brown. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until ready to serve

I loved the filling but next time instead of the meringue, i'm just going to go with lightly sweetened whipped cream. (To me, there wasnt much taste to the meringue -- maybe there isnt suppose to be?) The chocolate filling was delicious! Like chocolate pudding and so easy to make!

The pie crust? I dont know. So much work for something that I couldnt really taste. I think the strong chocolate flavor from the filling masked the pie crust. I tasted the pie crust on its own and didnt really taste much.


Tracey said...

I haven't had much success with pie crusts in the past either Karen! I have a new favorite from Cook's Illustrated that works well but I still fear them a bit.

This one was disappointing for me too. It was bland and cracked a ton as I rolled it out. Your filling and topping do look wonderful!

Nina said...

I agree, it had cracked a lot when I tried to roll it out. I had to also add lots of extra water to make it stay together. The topping looks great though!

Flourchild said...

The pie crust just tasted plain nasty to me..I wouldn't make it again.
Your filling looks good!!

lakegirl said...

Okay we need to start a club, "I Hate Pie Crusts/Fear of Piecrusts". I am right there with you.

Your chocolate filling looks to die for! Yummy! Chocolate Pie is my favorite pie.

I may "borrow" your idea of the 100 list, although I am not sure I will go with 100. Great idea and what a great list to go to for ideas. I keep mine in a journal now.

Sweet and Savory said...

I would have chosen a chocolate cream pie too. Nothing like it for creaminess. Yours certainly looks creamy and delicious.

Jaime said...

i love that last photo! oh and before i bought my pastry blender (which i love using for my apple crumb pie or anything streudel!) i would use two butter knives! worked great in a pinch :)

Stephanie said...

i'd say your pie crust came out beautifully despite your fear in making it! i was completely afraid of this one, too. maybe this was a step in both of us getting over our fears :) [[and ps- don't tell - i cheated too and used a food processor instead of a pastry cutter!]]

Susan said...

Well, your pie looks good. Oh, your secret? (large serving fork) It's safe with me. :)

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