But then every once in a while, I stumble upon a recipe with very minimal baking and maximum chocolate involved. This is one of those recipes. There's about 20 minutes of baking. It's pretty easy and mostly involves a lot of whisking. The last time I made this was in Tennessee, while we were visiting our friend's Joey & Christen! (Nothing says "thanks for letting us stay here" like a big mess in the kitchen, right?) When I got put on pie duty for Thanksgiving, I knew this would be the perfect alternative for non-pumpkin eaters. But who says you have to pick just one kind of pie to eat?
The only reason I'm re-posting the recipe instead of just linking you to the site I found it on is because I made some light changes, added some tips and prepared the entire thing using my food processor. If you don't have a food processor, add it to your Christmas list. In the meanwhile, I added some steps for those of you without one. It takes about an extra hour to make it without, but it's worth it!
This recipe is originally from one of Martha Stewart's pies & tarts books, which I will be adding to my Christmas list. She is becoming my favorite baking source. I feel a little mainstream admitting that, but what can I say, I can always trust her recipes.
25 chocolate wafers (After checking two stores for wafers, I improvised by buying Whole Foods' brand of Oreo cookies and popping off the cream-less side.)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the wafers until fine crumbs form. Add in the butter and sugar and pulse until well combined. (Or you can place the cookies in a Ziplock bag and crunch them up, then stir crumbs together in a bowl with butter and sugar.)
-Press the mixture firmly into an ungreased 9x9 pie dish, making sure it's evenly distributed on sides and bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake until crust is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
-While the crust is baking, you can get started on the custard, but watch your timing. You want to give your crust plenty of time to cool before you add the custard.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (around 60%), finely chopped
1 teaspoon unflavored powder gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-I used my food processor to save myself some time on chocolate chopping. I broke off chunks and pulsed quickly until finely chopped. Be careful not to damage your blade!
-Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate medium-sized bowl, prep your egg yolks so they're easy to add in later.
-Heat the milk and chocolate in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat until all the chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally. Careful not to burn the milk on the bottom of the pan.
-Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Whisk milk-sugar mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, 4 to 5 minutes total (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).
-In a small bowl, combine cold water and gelatin. Set aside for about five minutes.
-Pour milk mixture into the bowl of egg yolks in a slow steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated (this method prevents eggs from cooking on the stove). Then return the mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick bubbles start popping up in the middle (about 1 or 2 minutes).
-Remove from heat. Stir in softened gelatin and whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla. Let custard cool for about 10 minutes, whisking a few times to break down the film solidifying on top.
-Pour custard into baked & cooled chocolate crust. The recipe suggested pouring through a strainer to make it extra smooth, but this step is optional. Use a spatula to press custard through, if needed.
-Wait a few minutes for air bubbles to rise and pop and then completely cover custard with plastic wrap to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate until custard is firm, at least four hours.
-I made this pie a day in advance for Thanksgiving and it was much more on the runny side as opposed to when I slice it up and serve it the same day I make it. But runny or not, it's delicious.
Whipped Cream & Chocolate Shavings:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar (or less)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-I made whipped cream with my food processor for this pie and I will never make it any other way again! Pulse cream, sugar and vanilla together for about 20 seconds until firm peaks form. It's the best whipped cream I've ever had and stayed firm for hours, even after sitting out on the pie table during dinner.
-To make chocolate curls, soften your chocolate bar in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds until it's soft to the touch. Using a potato peeler, shave off long strips of the chocolate. I made shorter, more tightly curled chocolate shavings this time by shaving the shorter end of the chocolate bar.
This pie disappeared pretty shortly after this picture was taken. It was a hit! Thank you, Martha.