Sunday, May 4, 2014
I took a new job fairly recently, and I was excited to have some new coworkers to bake for. In fact, since I work in a small department now, I thought that maybe I'd bake something for each coworker's birthday. So nonchalantly, I asked all of them one day what their favorite birthday cake was. What I didn't really expect was "I don't really like cake." But alright, my husband's like that... pie, then, that should be fine, right? Well, no, not for my boss, who said that he doesn't like pie unless it has a non-fruity filling, like pumpkin pie or pudding pie. And oh, he really likes pudding.
Thank goodness for Baking Illustrated. It seldom lets me down, so despite the fact that I'd never tried to make chocolate cream pie before, I went for it. It's entirely scratch-made except for the cookies in the crust -- I would've made those, too, but the recipe said not to, that using whole Oreos was actually the best bet.
I have to say, this came out pretty damned good. The only thing I did wrong, really, was that I was so concerned about getting the crumbs to go up the sides of the pan that the bottom crust ended up a bit too thin -- but the filling was just firm enough to serve without that being an issue. It was delicious. And best of all, my boss was so thrilled that I'd made it for him that he literally did his happy dance -- that kinda made my whole week right there. :) (It did mean, though, that I didn't get a nice photo of the pie sliced, 'cause he massacred it pretty quickly. :) )
Chocolate Cream Pie
From Baking Illustrated
16 whole Oreos
2 tbsp melted butter
2 1/2 c half-and-half
Pinch of salt
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
6 egg yolks, room temperature
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
6 oz semisweet chocolate, cut or broken into chunks
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut or broken into chunks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c heavy cream, cold
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Pulse the Oreos in a food processor until broken up, then process until the crumbs are uniformly fine.
2. Pour the crumbs into a bowl, then pour in the melted butter and combine thoroughly with your fingers. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate.
3. Chill the crust for 20 minutes to firm up the crumbs, then bake at 350 degrees until fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
4. In a saucepan, bring the half-and-half, salt, and 3 tbsp of the sugar to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
5. While that's coming to a simmer, combine the rest of the sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Then, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks thoroughly, about 30 seconds. When the half-and-half mixture is near a simmer, sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has begun to dissolve.
6. Slowly drizzle about a half-cup of the hot half-and-half over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to slowly whisk in the half-and-half until the egg mixture is warm, then slowly whisk this mixture back into the pan. Return the pan to a simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened and glossy and bubbles start to form and burst on the surface.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until incorporated; then, whisk in the chocolates and whisk until fully combined. Whisk in the vanilla, then immediately pour the mixture into a mesh strainer that has been set over a bowl.
8. Scrape the strained filling into the crust, smooth out the top with a spatula, then place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the pie, pressing it down so it makes direct contact with the filling.
9. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
10. Whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks, then add the vanilla. Continue to whip at high speed to barely stiff peaks. Spread over the pie. Top with chocolate shavings if desired. Serve immediately.