I decided to do my first post about my mom. My mom is not the world’s best baker, but she did teach me all of the basics as a child. From whisking, using a mixer, and cracking an egg to greasing a cake pan and basic cake decorating, my mom was there to instill that first love of baking in me. Every year, I couldn’t wait to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. Mom rolled out the dough and let the kids cut out and decorate the cookies. To this day, my mom rolls out the dough, and now lets my kids cut out the cookies and decorate them.
As I grew older and more interested in baking, she gave me free reign of the kitchen to bake cookies, brownies, and, my favorite, Christmas baked goods. She always brought a friend or neighbor something when we visited their new baby, attended a funeral, or were invited into their home for a gathering. My love of baking and sharing my baked goods started with my mom inviting me into the kitchen to bake with her as a child and watching her share baked goods with others.
We just celebrated my mom’s birthday right before Thanksgiving. Birthdays are such a great time to go that extra mile and bake something special for the birthday boy or girl. I try to find out what the recipients favorite dessert or baked good is. In this case, I knew that my mom loves chocolate cream pie.
Please forgive me for my food photography. I am working on it and hope to improve as time goes on! I actually forgot to get a photo of the entire pie before we cut into it. So this lovely slice will have to do. The chocolate cream layer is so rich and creamy, and the whipped cream compliments the chocolate so well. The crust is a combination of butter and shortening which results in a delicious, crisp and flaky pastry that pairs so well with the creaminess of the chocolate filling.
CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 oz) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 5/8 oz) vegetable shortening
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/8 to 1/4 (1-2 oz) cup ice water
2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate, chopped (I like to use Ghirardelli)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (4 5/8 oz) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons (3/8 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for richer chocolate flavor
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream, divided
2 cups (16 oz) milk
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream
1/4 cup (1 oz) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and salt.
Cut in the shortening until it’s in lumps the size of small peas.
Dice the butter into 1/2″ pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.
Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough.
When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It’s ok if there are dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you’ll add just enough water to bring the dough together without adding too much or creating a wet spot.
Fold it over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then pat it into a disk 3/4″ thick
Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
To blind bake the crust: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9″ pie pan that’s at least 2″ deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it’s finished.
Roll out the pastry for the pie to a 13″ circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the edge by an inch all the way around. Tuck the edges up and under, and flute them. Put the lined pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.
Line the crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently remove foil or parchment with the weights or beans. Return the crust to the oven for 10 to 20 more minutes, until it’s golden brown all over. If the edges of the crust start becoming too brown, cover them with a pie shield, or strips of aluminum foil. Remove the crust from the oven and cool completely.
Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.
In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks.
Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.
Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.
Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.
Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.
Place the heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
Whip until the whisk begins to leave tracks in the bowl.
Add the sugar and vanilla and whip until the cream holds a medium peak.
Transfer the cooled filling to the cooled, baked pie crust. Level the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top.
Chill the pie until ready to serve. Note: If you’re not planning on serving the entire pie at once, top individual slices with a dollop of whipped cream just before serving.
*Use a good quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli
*The crust and filling can be made a day ahead of time. I keep the crust wrapped tightly on the counter, the filling covered with cling wrap touching the filling in the refrigerator. The topping should be made the day it will be served.
*I always wait to assemble the pie an hour or two before it is served. This keeps the crust nice and crisp.
*Let the pie dough rest in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes after you have rolled it and placed it into your pie dish while your oven preheats. A cold pie crust dough will yield a nice flaky crust and the rest will prevent your dough from shrinking.
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
*****I would like to give a shoutout to Kimberly K Carter for designing all the amazing graphics on this blog. She also set up the blog for me. Kim is an amazing artist and graphic designer. Click on her name at the bottom of the home page to view her website and check out her designs.
Preview of my next post:
Swapping Services with Kimberly K Carter…baking for her daughter’s Paris themed birthday party and in return Kim designed my blog.