Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovie Dovie Chocolate Pie Part Deux

If I messed this up somehow I'm not sure where. It sure looks like it turned out alright, but this being my first cream pie, I won't call this a success until it's been devoured and enjoyed. Let's start where I left off last.

The Crust

I will admit my first mistake in this endeavor. The problem with a blog and being truthful to it is that I'd like to edit my life and take out those mistakes that you don't want people to know about. Everyone would love to pretend that they do everything perfectly all the time. But since I'm new to cooking and baking, and that's no mystery, I have decided to own up to those little mess ups and hopefully you won't give me too much grief about it!

Now, back to the crust. The problem that I had to begin with was the same problem that I had with other crusts I've made in the past. I never seem to have enough dough. (Now, this wasn't dough but I'm not sure what else to call it so just go with it!) My pie dish that was so lovingly bought for me is slightly bigger than the average. Or maybe I'm just terrible at mixing pie crust recipes. Whatever the case, I had just a little less of the oreo mix than I probably should have and my crust didn't look exactly like the picture. But oh boy did it smell good! I figured it was too late to try to make a new crust, especially since I used so many oreos, and I decided to move forward.

The Prep

There was a lot of prep for this pie, and I'm kind of a messy person. My "mise en plase" is something I'm still working on achieving perfectly. But nonetheless, I chopped the 6 oz of semi-sweet and 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate into a pretty little pile. I also separated the yolk from the white of 6 different eggs. Luckily this is a skill my mother taught me when I was younger so it was pretty easy. Oh, and I did all the other stuff.

The Recipe

I should note that the recipe I'm using for my pie is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Now some people might think this is cheating. I get it. America's Test Kitchen has done all the hard work of playing around with recipes and finding out what works best and what doesn't. But since I am new to cooking, I love this book. It helps me to teach myself the basics of cooking, and after I've mastered the recipe in the book, then I like to go on and play around with ingredients and different recipes. That's how I roll.

Anyways, my next move was to warm up half-and-half, sugar and salt on the stove. At the same time as I did this, I had to whisk the egg yolks, more sugar and cornstarch together. I did this in my handy KitchenAid mixer that I am absolutely in love with. Seriously. My mother gave it to us a couple years ago for Christmas and it has been one of my favorite things in my kitchen ever since.

Pay no attention to the shoes in the background. Or the fact that my mixer looks like it's going to fall off the counter.

So I mixed these simultaneously, trying to keep an eye on both things as to not mess it all up. Luckily I had read ahead in the recipe for the next part. This was the part I was afraid of. Mixing the hot mixture with the egg mixture. I've heard horror stories about curdled custard to the point where I almost didn't want to venture in this area. But the cookbook gave me the tips I needed to avoid this nasty occurrence. What you do is you take about a cup of the simmering half-and-half mixture and slowly add it to the egg mixture. Then, once that has been mixed well, you add the entire egg mixture slowly back into the saucepan.

Once it was all back in the saucepan, I had to continue to whisk it on heat until it got nice and thick. Then I added chopped up butter, chocolate and a bit of vanilla extract, one at a time and it turned into this . . .

Now this might not look as beautiful to you as it does to me, but when my creation turned into something somewhat similar to chocolate pudding, I was jumping up and down with joy. Oh and whisking at the same time.

Oh yes, beautiful!

 After I got over the initial shock that I might have done this whole thing correctly, I had to pour the delicious chocolate mixture into my somewhat correctly done pie crust. 

 Just ignore the slightly awkward crust.

The last part of this process was to cover the pie and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. The recipe told me to "lay a sheet of plastic wrap flush to the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming". I laughed to myself as I pulled the plastic wrap from the cupboard it was hiding in, as I remembered my husband battling it this very morning while trying to wrap up his lunch for today. Slightly afraid that the plastic wrap might seek vengeance on my pie, I tentatively covered it.

And there you have it! The pie is resting in our refrigerator as we speak. (Or type, I guess.) My next move is to mix up the topping for this beauty. The topping is a mixture of heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. The cookbook says to "spread the whipped cream attractively over the top of the pie." It's that word attractively that concerns me. I've gotten better at decorating with frosting, especially with the decorator bag my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas this year. But this looks like it could be tricky. I bought extra chocolate to decorate with just in case I need to cover up some whipped cream patches.

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