Bittersweet Chocolate Cream Pie
Named for my younger sister, this pie is on the less-sweet
side of dessertdom, and would probably be most appreciated
by adults. You must use a chocolate of excellent quality
in order to get a superior pie, though there's no reason
you couldn't substitute semisweet chocolate for the bittersweet.
This pie should be eaten within about 24 hours after it
is made, and the topping should be put on just before
serving. Great for company!
cups graham cracker crumbs
cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
cup granulated sugar
Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
cups whole milk, divided
ozs. Best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pats
cup heavy cream
Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
or grated bittersweet chocolate
Crust: Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to
400 degrees F (375 degrees F if using a dark-finish or
ovenproof glass pie plate). In medium bowl, combine graham
cracker crumbs and melted butter, stirring thoroughly
to blend well. Turn into 9" pie plate. Form a high rim,
using your fingers or the back of a spoon and about 2/3
of the crumb mixture. Compact remaining crumb mixture
on bottom of pie plate to form an even layer (make sure
crumb mixture isn't too thick where bottom and sides meet).
Bake in preheated oven about 7 minutes, or just until
top edges of crust are a slightly darker gold color. Remove
to cooling rack; cool while preparing Filling.
Filling: Have ready a fine strainer set over a pitcher
or heatproof liquid measuring cup of about 4 cup capacity.
In 2 quart, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot, combine sugar,
cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. With large slotted
spoon, stir well to combine, pressing out as many lumps
as possible. In small bowl, combine egg yolks and about
1/4 cup milk (reserve remainder); with fork, beat well
to combine. Add to cornstarch mixture and stir in gently
(you'll see some lumps--OK. After liquid has been added
to a cornstarch mixture, and while it is being heated,
you must stir it--do not beat!). Add finely chopped chocolate.
In small saucepan over low heat, heat remaining milk until
very hot, stirring occasionally. Gradually add hot milk
to cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.
pot over medium heat. Keep stirring slowly but constantly.
There will probably be a layer of foam on top of the Filling
at this point--OK. As Filling nears the boiling point,
lumps will form and float to the surface. Suddenly, Filling
will thicken and foam will start to incorporate into it.
Stop stirring momentarily to see if Filling is boiling
(if it isn't, keep stirring and check again in a few seconds).
When Filling boils, cook and stir for one minute, reducing
heat slightly if boiling is vigorous or mixture splashes.
Remove from heat. Add butter pats and vanilla. Let stand
about one minute, then gently stir just until well-mixed.
Turn Filling into strainer over pitcher and force it through.
Filling has been strained, pour into cooled crust. Cool
briefly at room temperature, then chill at least 3 hours.
If you want to prevent a "skin" from forming on top of
the Filling, place a piece of plastic wrap, pierced in
several places, directly on the top surface.
Topping: Chill a medium bowl and beaters for at least
20 minutes. Beat cream at high speed until traces of beater
marks show in it. Add confectioners' sugar and beat at
low speed to incorporate, then beat at high speed until
very stiff peaks form. Turn whipped cream onto pie (remove
plastic wrap first!) and spread evenly to edge of Filling.
Top with shaved or grated chocolate. Serve immediately.
to 10 servings
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