Nov 29, 2014
Let it be known that I do not promise pie lightly.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine won a dance contest at my theater company's fundraiser. After dancing his tush off, he joined me over at the bar and jokingly suggested that since there wasn't a prize for the contest, that I should bake him a pie as the prize. Well, lucky for him, he caught me on a good night, and I quickly said, "Yeah. Sure. What kind of pie do you want?" After many, "Wait, really? I was just joking," he told me that his wife's favorite kind of pie was French Silk, and asked if I could make it, and I told him, "Well, of course."
Now, the truth of matter is that I'd never made a French Silk pie before, but I've never met a pie I didn't like...Challenge accepted.
I vaguely remembered that French Silk was chocolate pie with whipped cream, but I needed to do a little research to figure out how it's actually made. It turns out that the key to making a delicious French Silk Pie is good quality chocolate, cold ingredients, raw eggs, and patience. Seriously, that's what makes the chocolate filling dense, yet light and fluffy. Each egg gets its own five minutes of fame while it gets whipped into the filling, so the whole process takes at least 30 minutes. So without much further ado, here's my recipe for French Silk Pie...
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
12 graham cracker sheets
1 stick melted salted butter
1/4 c. sugar
optional- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or baking spices (Hint: my secret weapon is Penzey's Baking Spice mix. Seriously, this stuff is the best.)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a food processor or using your hands/rolling pin with the crackers in a storage baggie, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Then, add the sugar, melted butter, and spices, and mix. Then, pour the graham cracker crumbs into your pie tin, and using the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs into the bottom and the sides of the pie tin. To form a clean border on the sides, I use my thumb and the side of the cup to create an even border all the way around the tin.
Then, bake the graham cracker crust for 5 minutes until golden brown, and then set it aside to cool completely.
French Silk Pie Filling
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/2 c. quick dissolve or fine sugar
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbs. instant coffee
4 eggs (cold)
One of the keys to making French Silk Pie is making sure that your ingredients stay cold and yet workable. So, while you're making the pie crust or even earlier in the day, put the bowl of your mixer in the refrigerator, so it's as cold as possible Also, you'll want to let your butter soften at room temp a few hours before you start to make the pie. I would strongly suggest that you do not soften the butter in the microwave because it will get too warm, which will affect the texture of your pie filling.
Ok, so first things first, melt that chocolate. You can melt it in the microwave by heating it at 45 second intervals and stirring after each one, or on a double boiler. Up to you! But, once it's melted, you'll want to set it aside to cool for a few minutes, while you start working on the next part of the filling.
In a standing mixer, beat the butter until it is light and then add the sugar.
Note: You can use regular granulated sugar, but I really recommend trying to find fine or quick dissolve sugar. Just like the name suggests, this sugar will dissolve into the butter more quickly than normal sugar, and help ensure that you don't end up with a grainy filling. Here's the kind I used for my pie, and conveniently enough, this bottle is exactly a cup and half. Perfect!
Once the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla, instant coffee (makes the chocolate taste even more chocolatey), and finally, the melted chocolate. Beat these together until fully incorporated, and then go get the first egg from the fridge. With the mixer speed on medium, crack the egg into the chocolate/butter mixture and then let it mix for 5 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining three eggs. In total, adding the eggs should take a full 20 minutes and the mixer should run the whole time.
Note: I know some people may be thinking to themselves, "Wait. Aren't those eggs raw?" Yes. Yes, they are. Now, I'm not really afraid of raw eggs, but if you are, you can look for pasteurized eggs. If you go with normal eggs, look for the organic kind and I wouldn't recommend serving the pie to little kids, pregnant mommas, or anyone whose immune system is compromised due to the slight risk of salmonella. Ok- back to making that pie!
I bet that filling looks amazing, right? Do a little taste-test. Good, huh? Ok, now don't taste-test it too much, because now it needs to go into the crust. Spread it out evenly, cover, and cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. After two hours, top the pie with homemade whipped cream and semisweet chocolate shavings.
Inform your friend that you actually made the pie you promised you would, make their Facebook explode with requests for a slice of said pie, and then hand it off in a parking lot because you both have rehearsal! Or, you can eat it yourself. No judgment.
I got a report back from my friend and his wife later that night, and I'm proud to say that she said it was the best French Silk she'd ever eaten. PIE WIN!