Monday, March 28, 2016

Chocolate Pie

The pies may be few and far between, but they’re still coming! (Way back last fall, I decided to make more pies.) And this one, with its milk chocolate filling, graham cracker crust and fluffy white, marshmallowy topping, might just have the right flavors to hold you over until s’mores season.

The first time I tried this pie, which is adapted from Food Network Magazine, I messed up the crust. The original recipe had a chocolate crust, but I wanted more of a s’mores flavor to my pie. I made a graham cracker crust, but I went about it all wrong and it turned out barely edible and not at all shareable. The filling was wonderfully delicious, however, so I wanted to give it another shot. I consulted a trusted source (The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum), and fixed my crust problem.

The delightful chocolate filling has a wonderful texture, more like fudge, not quite gooey, but not cakey either, and definitely not creamy like a pudding (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I loved that fudgy texture, but I loved the smooth milk chocolate flavor even more.

I found the topping surprisingly exciting, too. It’s a mixture of whipped cream and marshmallow cream with just a bit more sugar. It’s not as sweet as straight-up marshmallow, but it holds up better than whipped cream, without getting deflated, weepy and watery. In fact, I liked this topping trick so much that I hope to use it on other cream pies again.

Of course using that topping for a pie again means making pie again. Pies may be less frequently on my dessert table than I’d like, but if they’re as special as this one, they would be worth the wait.

Chocolate Pie with Graham Cracker Crust and Marshmallow Topping
Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible and Food Network Magazine

For the crust:
5 ounces graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
8 ounces milk chocolate
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup marshmallow cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Additional graham crackers for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. To make the crust, process the graham crackers and sugar in the food processor to fine crumbs. Pour the 5 tablespoons melted butter into the processor and pulse until the crumbs are well moistened. Firmly press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

2. To make the filling: in a medium-size saucepan, combine the stick of butter and chocolate. Heat over low heat to melt, stirring frequently, until the mixture is very smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Whisk in the ½ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Continue whisking until smooth. Whisk in the flour.

4. Pour the filling mixture into the crust and smooth it out. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is firm and set, and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely.

5. To make the topping, combine the heavy cream, marshmallow cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until thick, fluffy and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

6. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cooled pie. Crumble additional graham cracker over the top of the pie if desired.

Makes about 8 servings. Refrigerate leftovers for a few days. The pie keeps rather well.

Another recipe like this one: Peppermint Brownie Pie

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