Friday, November 27, 2015

homemade chocolate pie

This year I did something a little different for my contribution to the family Thanksgiving meal: chocolate pie. It's a staple at our holiday meals.  Normally one of my sisters makes it, but I decided I would try it this year.  But I didn't want to make the standard pie, which is store-bought crust with boxed pudding. Not that that's bad, but I wanted to try my hand at making the pudding and crust from scratch.

It was time-consuming:   there are several steps, with rest periods in between, for both the crust and the pudding.

After mixing the crust, it had to go in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.  Then when I rolled it out and put it in the pie plates it had to go back in the fridge; that's supposed to improve the results and make the crust even flakier. I've made pie crust only once before--earlier this month when I made homemade apple pie--so I don't have a lot of practice yet.  It seemed to go well, though, despite the fact that I don't have a pastry blender; it broke the first time I used it, which was when I made the apple pie.  And I can't seem to do the two-knives thing for cutting the butter into the flour, so I just used my hands and rubbed the butter into the flour. 


Here's my baked crust.  It isn't super pretty, but it was flaky.   

Then came the pudding.  I had to mix some of the ingredients in a saucepan, then put it on the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a boil, and then pour it over the chocolate, butter and vanilla, and then mix until smooth.  Then it goes through a sieve to remove any lumps.  Then it goes in the fridge for a couple hours to cool. Meanwhile, I baked the crusts, which then had to cool completely.  Then in goes the pudding and the pies go back in the fridge overnight to set up.


Here's the finished product, ready to hit the fridge.

Anyway, I managed it.  And the results were totally worth it:  it tasted like a dark chocolate fudge bar, and I was told that I'm now in charge of the chocolate pies.

By the way, if you're a chocolate pudding lover, skip making the crust.  This pudding is absolutely chocolate heaven!

Here's the recipe, which comes from King Arthur Flour (sorry, it's not my own recipe).  This is a well-written recipe and everything seemed to work just like it should with great results.  Note:  You really need to set aside one full weeknight to do this, unless you can work a lot faster than me.

Chocolate Pie

Crust

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
7 to 10 tablespoons ice water
Filling

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for richer chocolate flavor (I used 1/4 tsp)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, divided
2 cups milk (I used whole milk)

Directions

Crust:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and salt.
  2. Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.
  3. Dice the butter into 1/2" pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.
  4. Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough.
  5. When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's ok if there are dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without adding too much or creating a wet spot.
  6. Fold it over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then pat it into a disk 3/4" thick
  7. Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
  8. To blind bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9" pie pan that's at least 2" deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's finished.
  9. Roll out the pastry for the pie to a 13" circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the edge by an inch all the way around. Tuck the edges up and under, and flute them. Put the lined pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
  10. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently remove foil or parchment with the weights or beans. Return the crust to the oven for 10 to 20 more minutes, until it's golden brown all over. If the edges of the crust start becoming too brown, cover them with a pie shield, or strips of aluminum foil. Remove the crust from the oven and cool completely.

Filling:

Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.

  1. In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso powder, 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.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.
  5. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  6. Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.
  7. Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.
Assembly:
  1. Transfer the cooled filling to the cooled, baked pie crust. Level the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
  2. Chill the pie until ready to serve. Note:  Chill for at least 6 hours, otherwise the filling will be loose and it will be messy to slice the pie.

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