Friday, December 28, 2007

Chocolate Cream Pie

He did it again. My little boy came into the kitchen clutching a recipe card pulled from an old magazine.

"This is a chocolate pie."

Yeah, well hard to argue with the appeal of a chocolate cream pie, and unlike a strawberry Bavarian there isn't really a "season" for chocolate. I looked at the recipe-apparently it won a baking contest in 1999. Once I excluded all the pre-made crust and whipped cream, it sounded like a somewhat interesting recipe-so I went for it.

Instead of a standard piecrust I went for a Pate Brisee. It wasn't my intention to make a free—standing shell, but once I realised it would slide from the pie plate easily, it seemed foolish not to. I don't own flan rings (as I almost never make tarts) though after the success with the pastry, I might need to consider buying some.

You Will Need:

For the Pate Brisee:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ lb. Unsalted butter cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons + ice water

Place flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening taking care not to overwork it or warm it too much in your hands. Don't worry about incorporating every last bit of butter evenly.

Add the water and with your hand, blend and gather together into a ball adding more water if needed. The dough should NOT be sticky.

Grab about two tablespoons of the dough at a time and smear, using your hand against a work surface. When all dough is completed, roll into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill two hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees FR.

Roll out dough quickly and place in pie pan (or flan ring if you have one). Flute high on the sides to accommodate the filling.

Prick the bottom with a fork generously. Butter a piece of foil and place it atop the crust and press it into the sides as well. Fill the crust with beans to weight it during baking.

Bake for 8-9 minutes until it is set. Remove the foil and beans and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until done. If you feel confident, slip the crust from the pan and cool it on a rack to keep it from getting soggy. Otherwise, cut your losses and cool it in the pan. The crust must be completely cooled before filling.

For the Pie Filling:

½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate either chips or very finely chopped squares.
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3 oz. Cream cheese, cubed and softened at room temperature
1-½ cups heavy whipping cream
1-teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the chocolate and stir until dissolved. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Keep whisking to keep it from burning and cook one minute longer until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the cream cheese and whisk until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover on surface with plastic wrap. Chill until cool-about 1 hour.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Remove 1 cup for topping. Fold the rest of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture taking care to incorporate it evenly. Spoon into prepared crust. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Chill at least six hours before serving.

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