Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Bliss

I have this baking book that I received last year at Christmas. It seems now like I have always had it, but I got it just this last Christmas. I really, really love this book. If you like baking, this is the book for you. It has everything from whole grain bread to savory pies and delicious tarts. There is great detail given, even a bread primer, instructing even the most inexperienced baker on how to proof yeast, allowing dough to rise and keeping butter and other ingredients at the proper temperature.
I have made several recipes from this book, and I absolutely love them. The pumpkin bread is just amazing! But I will save that for another day. The whole grain bread, basic white loaf (with variations like cheddar-mustard), potato rolls, pesto rolls, pizza, and rosemary focaccia are outstanding. I thought I loved to bake but now that I have this book, I find myself going at it three times a week!
About six months ago, I was flipping through the book again, (I get ten or twenty pages farther each time, but I end up stopping because I have decided to make just about everything I read about) and I saw a recipe for chocolate silk pie. I wanted to make it right then and there, but I didn't have any chocolate sandwich cookies (read: Oreos) to smash up to make the crust. So I waited.
As I was preparing my Thanksgiving menu, I usually ask everyone what pie they would like to see on the table. The usual always pop up, you know, apple and pumpkin, and a few special items make their way to the table every couple of years. My brother like pumpkin roll, my husband likes cheesecake, etc. So this year I decided to make pecan pie and chocolate silk pie, in addition to the others. I LOVE pecan pie, but its not real popular around here, and my mom bought a chocolate silk pie from a baker last year and it was soooo good I wanted another one.
This chocolate silk pie is unlike any other I have had, and probably any other you have had. This is no 'pudding' pie. It is the real deal. Rich, silky custard fills the inside with delectable chocolate goodness. It is almost like eating a truffle pie. I had several people ask me if it was fudge. It was so rich I could hardly finish the sliver I had taken, but I savored every bite. I would pay for that chocolate silk pie. I am writing about it now because I hope you decide to make it. Soon. You won't be sorry. I am pretty sure I am going to make it for Christmas day, but I will make the Orange Chocolate Silk Pie. If I can last that long. I may decide to make another sooner.

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate cookie crumbs (a food processor works great)
3/4 stick butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 and position an oven rack in the center. Put the cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl and stir until all the crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer the buttered crumbs to the pie pan and spread evenly, pressing them into the bottom and sides of the pan.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
3/4 stick butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (up to 70 percent cacao) finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered

Dark chocolate curls, additional cookie crumbs or finely chopped chocolate pieces for garnish
You can also optionally drizzle homemade dark chocolate sauce or caramel sauce over the the slices when serving, but this may cause a sugar induced coma.

Make the filling: Bring 2 inches of water to a low boil over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and whisk by hand to blend. Place the bowl over the simmering water (the bottom of the bowl must not touch the water) and whisk constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Heat until the mixture reaches 160 F on an instant-read thermometer and the eggs look light in color and texture. (They will also begin to thicken and should coat the back of a spoon.) Remove the eggs from the heat and beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
While the eggs are beating, place the butter, cream and chocolate in a medium bowl and set the bowl in the saucepan over the simmering water. Let it sit for 1 minute, then gently stir with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, lower the speed to medium, and beat until there are no streaks of egg visible. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl, making sure that any streaks of egg are blended into the chocolate. Scrape the filling into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Make the topping: Whip the cream and sugar into firm peaks. Use a spatula to spread the whip cream onto the top of the cooled chocolate filling, making swirls as you go. Alternatively, use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Sprinkle the top with cookie crumbs or chocolate shavings, as desired.

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