This year, I'm sending Valentine's Day dinner to my oldest and a few of his friends at college. I needed a dessert recipe that could be transported for 3 hours in a cooler without a lot of trouble. That meant that my usual "go to" recipe for Crème Brûlée was out of the question.
I flipped through Martha's Baking Handbook but nothing jumped out at me. Then, I remembered my BFF, Rhee, AKA The Pioneer Woman. She's my hero for more reasons than there's time to go into right now. If you haven't done it already, you should meet her. I mean it. Go to her page. She's hysterical..and candid..and Holy Smacks, the girl can cook! She makes real food, for real people so I knew that she wouldn't let me fail.
Well, P-Dub (yep, I call her that) has a kick-butt recipe for French Silk Pie with step by step directions and beautiful photos that made it look so easy that even I felt confident that I could pull it off. But, before I gave food poisoning to 5 college students and ruined their weekend, I thought that I'd do a "test run".
Before we start, a word of CAUTION:
This recipe contains raw eggs and, although the chances of getting sick from raw eggs that have been properly refrigerated and not broken in the carton are small; many medical professionals who make far more money and have a lot more knowledge on this topic have determined that Pregnant women, small children (under three, I'd think), older adults and anyone with a compromised immune system should not eat raw eggs.
So, please, if you fall into those categories, stick to the Crème Brûlée or Molten Chocolate cake...okay? Really...it would break my heart if anything happened to any of you because of me.
The first thing that I noticed, was the list of ingredients...all six of them. SIX ingredients. Well, okay, one of them is a baked pie crust (recipe HERE) but still....six ingredients falls into my "I think that I'll be okay" category for recipes that I'm going to attempt for the first time. Butter, eggs, unsweetened baking chocolate, sugar, vanilla and a pie crust....so far, so good.
Wipe the fingerprints off of your mixer, counter top and bottle of vanilla so that no one thinks that you're a slob (optional if you're not putting photos of the process on the Internet). Place four ounces of chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave until it's melted (45 to 80 seconds depending upon your microwave. I do it for 30 seconds at a time so that I don't burn it). Once it's melted, stir it and set it aside to cool.
Place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (yes, you must have a mixer for this recipe (unless you have amazing muscles and are capable of vigorous whisking for twenty minutes straight in which case I'd like you to call me so that I can add you to my list of people that I'm in awe of). Pour in the sugar and beat on medium speed until it's light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Drizzle your cooled chocolate into the bowl and add 1-1/4 teaspoons of vanilla. Add just a bit more vanilla if you'd like...and dab a bit behind your ears too...there's something about the smell of vanilla that drives men wild....I'm pretty sure that I read that somewhere...honest. Mix thoroughly.
Take a fortifying drink of Diet Coke, Tea, Wine, Coffee, water...(whatever you've got on hand) and PAY ATTENTION...this is the critical part of the recipe:
Over the next twenty minutes you will add four eggs, one at a time, to the mix. TWENTY MINUTES (for those of you who love math like I do, that's one egg every five minutes). I learned to use the timer on the microwave for this recipe...no kidding...it's the second time in 8 years that I've done it (before you mock me, at least I didn't need to get out the manual this time).
Add the eggs, stand over the bowl with (or without) your camera and watch as the magic happens. Honest to Murphy...it's a thing of beauty to watch... the filling changes color and gets all creamy and silky. It's nothing short of a miracle...trust me...I thought that I was going to have to lie down for a few minutes with a cool cloth on my forehead. Honestly, is that not a thing of beauty!?
Fill the pie and smooth it out just a bit with an offset spatula. Lick the spatula...no kidding...just do it! P-Dub says to do it in her directions...and who am I to argue?! Cover the pie and refrigerate it for 2 hours or more.
While you're waiting for the pie to chill,
Grab some Crisco and 3 ounces of Semi Sweet baking chocolate (you can use chocolate chips if you'd like...any kind of semi-sweet chocolate will do). Place the chocolate and one tablespoon of Crisco in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds until the oil is hot. Stir the oil and the chocolate until combined.
Sort through your entire collection of baking sheets to find a jelly roll or sheet pan that looks nice on the bottom. Realize that you should probably pay more attention to the outside of your baking sheets. Scrub one to within an inch of it's life, and dry.
Using an offset spatula or knife (I decided that an unused drywall taping knife would also work well but I stuck with the spatula) spread the melted chocolate on the bottom of the pan. Make it as thin as possible.
Place the coated pan in the freezer for two or three minutes.
When you take it out, it should be cold enough for your finger to make a mark but not too cold.
My first attempt started out well but then, when I reached the middle of the pan, I discovered that the chocolate wasn't quite cool enough. Just put the pan back in the freezer and try again in a couple of minutes.
Make a bunch...amaze your friends! Put some in your coffee, on your oatmeal...
When you're ready to serve the pie, put a ginormous scoop of whipped cream on the top, garnish with a few chocolate curls and smile knowingly to yourself, because even though it looks fancy schmancy, this is one of the easiest desserts you've ever made!
French Chocolate Silk Pie Recipe (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
- 4 ounces Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
- 1 Cup Salted Butter, Softened
- 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 4 Whole Eggs
- 1 Baked Pie Shell, Cooled
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 4 ounces of chopped, unsweetened baking chocolate until it's "stir-able"(about 45 seconds). Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl with a stand (or other electric) mixer, beat 1 cup (2 sticks) of salted (regular) butter and 1 ½ cups of white sugar until fluffy (about 2 minutes). When the melted chocolate is cooled, drizzle it into the butter/sugar mixture. Add 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract (1 teaspoon is probably plenty but I really like vanilla). Beat the mixture until combined (on a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I use the whisk attachment and a speed of 7).
Turn the mixer to medium speed and, over a period of 20 minutes, add in the four eggs, one at a time, leaving about 5 minutes between additions. Once the pie filling is well mixed, pour it into the baked pie shell. Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours (longer is better).
When you're ready to serve the pie, add a huge mound of whipped cream and garnish with a few chocolate curls...because you can!