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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Break Time

Looking back over my last posts (most of my posts, actually) I see a strong melancholy thread. It's who I am, I can't deny it. But today instead of indulging my depressing inner workings, I'll write about my outer ones.

Wait...that doesn't sound right.

Anyway, I'll depart from routine and share a recipe with you...

For those of you who only know me in the cyber-world, you wouldn't know that I cook and bake for a living. I own a small (minuscule) coffee/bake shop in my tiny town. I'm not a chef or gourmet. I have no formal training. I'm a humble, down home cook of comfort foods...at least, to me they're comfort foods. I use real, fresh ingredients, butter being my favorite. Living by the "all things in moderation" maxim, I don't shy away from calorie laden, high fat foods. Cakes and breads are my specialty.

At home, when I have time, or when I'm stressed or bored or want to escape or relax, I bake. May sound weird to some of you, I know. But that's how I deal with life, I make food.

So, this morning, with the time change, I was gifted an extra hour to my day and I spent it baking. Yea me.

French silk pie is one of my favorites. But I've only made it once at home--years ago--before my 600watt Kitchen Aid stand mixer--before all my baking experience--before the myriad of recipes available on the web--before gray hairs and failing vision--before I realized that you don't HAVE to temper the eggs. I vaguely remember that the result of all my intensive labor was a tasty, but sadly average pie. Putting away hopes of a delicious homemade version, I've spent the last 15 years eating French Silk pie brought to me by my lovely mother from a Baker's Square in Minneapolis.

Well, for whatever reason, the desperate need for French Silk pie overtook me yesterday and I determined to give it another try. I purchased all the necessary ingredients, did an extensive* recipe search and set out at 7 a.m. this morning to fulfill my deepest chocolate longings.

I mentioned earlier that cakes and breads were my speciality. Not pie crusts. I can make a nice double pie crust, but single crusts are another animal altogether. They shrink. A lot. So, the crust doesn't look that great, but chocolate can cover a multitude of sins and the taste more than made up for the lack of beauty.

The recipe's not hard, but if you don't own a good stand mixer, don't even attempt it--your arm will go limp, numb and feel like falling off halfway into the process. I'd also suggest that, unless you're adept at pie crusts, you use a good store bought one. I'm a purist, and yet, next time, I might buy a crust.

After much research (*well actually--after I discounted all the recipes that used pudding, gelatin and/or cool whip {insert wretching sound and disgusted look on my face here}--only about 5 recipes remained) this is my combination of what looked like the best ingredients and methods combined. And just a little warning, I'm not always very exact...so I didn't measure the vanilla or sugar with measuring utensils, I guesstimated.



French Silk Pie:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (melted and slightly cooled)
4 eggs
whipped cream for garnish

*Using the paddle, cream butter and sugar for a looooong time scraping the bowl often...by long time I mean ten+ minutes.

*While you're waiting for the butter to cream and sugar to not be so grainy, separate the eggs and whip the egg whites to soft peaks (I used a little cream of tartar). Set aside.

*On stand mixer, switch to the whisk attachment and add vanilla; continue whipping the butter & sugar.

*Add egg yolks one at a time and beat about 3 minutes after each egg is added.

*Finally, fold in the egg whites until all the streaks are gone.

*Pour into a prepared crust and refrigerate a few hours.

*Garnish with REAL whipping cream (please, I beg you not to ruin this pie by using cool whip or some other disgusting fake food--buy whipping cream, whip it with a few tablespoons powdered sugar--it won't take that much extra time) and chocolate curls (vegetable peeler & a hershey's bar) ENJOY!!!!!

Notes:

**eggs and butter must be room temperature--not softened in the microwave or warmed in hot water, but left out for several hours or overnight so they're room temp.

**This is the part where I have to warn you about eating raw eggs. But honestly, if you're not pregnant, under 5 or over 80 I believe you can safely eat this dessert. If you're still scared--well what can I say--don't make it.

**I looked for recipes with more chocolate, because, let's face it, we all need more chocolate...but our family likes a more "milk chocolate" taste so 2 oz is perfect. If you like dark chocolate you could increase it to 3 oz but I wouldn't go over that--it'll throw off the consistency.

I hope you've enjoyed our little break from my oft'times tiring musings. Enjoy the recipe and let me know if you try it!

5 comments:

Miriam said...

Methinks I might give this a go for family weekend!

IngridGrace said...

I love your thoughtful musings, but please post more recipes!

a pilgrim said...

Haha ... I like your part about raw eggs. :)

A few times in the distant past, I've made French silk pie, and I have to agree with you - it is scrumptious. You may have inspired me to do it again sometime. ;)

Miriam said...

Okay this was a definate W.I.N. of a pie--hafta say that I wasn't sure when to add the lovingly melted, cooled and set aside chocolate, but I muddled through and it won rave reviews.
thanks for this, and for being a friend, and for...well, you know...

patty said...

I'm glad you tried it & liked it! And, what can I say, I'm not very exact or good at recipes...you add the chocolate right before the eggs. But it turned out despite my forgetting to put it in! :)