My absolute favorite at Bakers Square, “discovered” when I was a freshman in college, it was the ultimate chocolate indulgence.
Per a special request to make a homemade pie for Valentine’s Day, I perused six of my favorite cookbooks and not could not find a French Silk recipe, I finally pulled down my very first cookbook by Betty Crocker, given to me by my mother when I turned 18, and the one in which I made most of my mistakes (I suppose “made my bones”). I changed a few things because I wanted to use a bittersweet dark chocolate. Also, I am very careful about the process of melting chocolate because things can go badly so quickly. The filling is essentially like a mousse and, warning, the eggs are uncooked.
Of course, use good chocolate and as fresh as possible (preferably organic) eggs.
Pie Crust for 9-inch pie
1/3 cup butter (if unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps. sugar
2-3 tbls. cold water
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut butter into flour and sugar until rough crumbs. Stir water in with a fork until dough just holds together. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle flour over top. Roll with a rolling pin until just larger than the pan. Use a flat scraper or a wide spatula to scrape half of the dough up and fold it over on itself, scrape one quarter and fold dough over on itself again. Scrape up remaining quarter and lift into pie dish. Unfold gently. Allow dough to overhang slightly. Press into pie pan and repair any holes with outside scraps. Flute the edges.
Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned. Set crust aside to cool completely.
½ cup granulated sugar (or 1/2 cup powdered sugar)
¾ cup butter softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
3 oz. bitter-sweet baking bar (Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate)
3 tbls. heavy cream
A stand-alone mixer is really handy for this recipe, particularly because the beating time is so long and intense it may burn up a hand-held mixer.
In the batter bowl of a stand-alone mixer, use the wire whisk attachment to beat the butter and sugar together on high. Occasionally stop and scrape down the sides and the butter up off the bottom of the bowl. The point is to get the sugar to lose its ‘grainy’ texture. The butter and sugar can both take the beating, so keep at it until it’s done. Alternatively, using powdered sugar may avoid this problem (though I haven’t tried it: somebody tell me how it works out). Add the vanilla and the cream of tartar.
In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate with the cream slowly and stirring constantly. Just before the chocolate is completely melted, pull the pot off the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mix is smooth. Add the chocolate to the butter, sugar mix and continue to beat in the mixing bowl. Scrape the sides down to fully incorporate the chocolate.
Add the eggs. Beat for 2-3 minutes. Now the beating time counts because the texture will be affected by overbeating. Watch carefully.
Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
1 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbls. sugar
Chocolate bar (room temperature)
Whipping cream is best done with very cold cream and very cold equipment. The cream straight out of the fridge is fine. Place both the mixing bowl and the wire whisk attachment in the freezer for just a couple of minutes. Pull the equipment out just before mixing. Beat the heavy cream with sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread across the top of the pie.
Use a potato peeler to scrape chocolate curls from the chocolate bar to garnish.