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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy Pie Crust & Chocolate Cream Pie

As thrilled as I am to have conquered my first real pie crust, I admit there are sometimes that I just plain don't feel like getting out the food processor or waiting for the dough to chill while I live on in a great pie-less depression. Sometimes we need things that are easy.

This is easy.

This is about to be a pie crust. All that's in that lump there is some flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, oil and water. You can mix it all together and happily squish it up the sides of your pie pan in less time than it takes to preheat your oven!

Obviously we aren't going for looks here.

Once your oven is preheated, cook the pie crust for about ten minutes, then take it out and let it cool. You should leave your oven on, because I'm about to suggest making meringues, and you would want to be prepared for that.

Now, if you're like me a few months ago, you'll need to go shopping to get a big bar of semisweet chocolate. I use Baker's brand. If you're like me and this pie has suddenly been added to your dessert rotation, you should already have a few bars stashed in the cupboard. If you're REALLY like me, the chocolate hasn't suspiciously disappeared since your last pie-baking session, because no one in your house is tempted in the slightest by plain old chocolate. YESSSS.

So you'll need two squares of chocolate, all chopped up. Set this aside along with a teaspoon of vanilla and a tablespoon of butter, preferably at room temperature. While you're at it, set a hot pad/trivet down next to these items, since you won't want to go hunting for one when its time to use it.

Then when that's all prepped you're going to need a small saucepan with sugar, corn starch, flour, and salt in it. What that's happily sifted together you need to add some egg yolks and milk. If you're concerned that those egg whites will go to waste, make these amazing meringues and celebrate the fact that you just made two really stupendous (and addicting) chocolate desserts!

When you've mixed it together, you can put the saucepan on the stove at medium heat, and stir slowly and constantly with a whisk (or sometimes I just use a good old metal spoon).

It will look like there isn't much happening at first, but if you keep on keeping on (and not getting impatient and cranking up the temperature!) you'll suddenly notice that it's thickening quite a bit.

When you see the first gloppy air bubble rise to the surface, look at the second hand on the clock and speed up to a very enthusiastic sort of whisking, and be ready to pull it off the burner when it's been one minute since that first bubble.

I'm terrified of ruining things and wasting four whole egg yolks, so I usually get to about 45 seconds and freak out that its getting so very thick and bubbly, and pull it off the stove a little early. So far it hasn't caused any problems.

In any case, pull it off the stove and (after remembering to turn the burner off) plop it down on the hot pad/trivet/whatever you want to call it, and QUICKLY dump in the prepped chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Whisk it around like mad before it cools off so that the butter and chocolate are fully melted and mixed in.

Again, QUICKLY, before it cools down and starts solidifying, grab a spatula and pour it into your pie crust.

For some reason, I almost always make this pie in the evening, so I let it cool for maybe an hour then stick it in the fridge overnight.

Most recipes tell you to put a piece of plastic wrap on it (touching the filling) to prevent a skin from forming. I personally like the skin, and I DON'T like the little water droplets that form and roll around on top of the pie, so I leave it uncovered. Suit yourself.

This should be served with fresh whipped cream, but I usually opt for cool whip, because it makes my life easier. And having heavy cream in the house is a dangerous thing. I would start using it in everything from kraft mac and cheese to oatmeal to who knows what else, and my waistline would not thank me. Cool whip it is!


Pie Crust
See the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Company.

Bake the crust at 375 for about ten minutes.

Pie Filling 
Yield: Filling for one normal-sized pie
Time: I didn't time it, but I think less than half an hour from start to finish, including washing the pot and spatula.

1 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp Corn Starch
4 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
2 oz chopped Semi-sweet Chocolate
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Butter

In a smallish saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT for the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and heat slowly, stirring constantly.
When it gets thick and you see the first air bubble rise to the surface, increase stirring speed for one minute then remove from heat and quickly mix in the chocolate, vanilla, and butter.
Immediately pour into a prepared pie crust
Once cooled to room temperature (or at least not really hot anymore), place in refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Serve with whipped cream.

1 comment:

  1. my you have been cooking up a storm! are you on spring break too??
    haha i love the bit about the chocolate not disappearing... i seem to have the opposite problem, i can't bake with it because we have eaten it all or can't bear to use it all up and live without it for a few days! and i also like your tips about turning off the burner and having a trivet :)
    my kitchen success of the day was sloppy joes! i have never even had them before but decided to try it and they were awesome! i had made whole wheat rolls with seeds and things in them yesterday (and hid them so Brent wouldn't turn them all into PB sandwiches). i'm planning to make these for bike club this summer :)