Easy As Pi

I had planned on a cooking project for my second post, but because of an extremely busy week at the restaurant and budgeting needs I did a baking project today. Like the hamburger rolls, I cannot remember someone baking Chocolate Meringue Pie at home–so after a bit of thinking I came up with the following recipe. My pie is not beautiful, however it is tasty–and a technical challenge.

Of course, one might choose to use pre-made pie crusts–but they are easy to make and quick and can be frozen for future use.

Ingredients and process for Rich Pie Pastry

  1. 2 Cups of Flour (All Purpose please!)
  2. 1/2 tsp of salt
  3. 2/3 cups of unsalted butter
  4. 2 tsp of sugar (savory pies won’t need the sugar)
  5. 1 egg yolk
  6. 3-4 tbs cold water

First, cut the butter into small cubes and put them into the freezer to keep them hard.  Image

Sift the flour and salt into the large bowl, beat the egg yolk lightly and add the 4 tbs of water to the egg yolk. Cut the butter into the flour until the texture becomes similar to that which of bread crumbs–this is a rough description, basically you don’t want huge blocks of butter in the flour, this is what makes pie crusts flaky. After cutting in the butter, make a well in the center of the butter-flour and mix in the wet ingredients gently. Pour the contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently-to combine–then wrap the dough in pie crust and put in the fridge for an hour (or the freezer for half an hour).

Before Kneading the pie crust dough, it comes together very well.

Before Kneading the pie crust dough, it comes together very well.

Wrap and Chill.

Wrap and Chill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the dough is chilling, get an 8 inch pie dish and grease and set the oven to 400°F, then roll out the pie crust and cut out the needed shape. Place the dough in the pan dock it gently (to let out steam, otherwise your crust may dome) and put a layer of parchment in the shaped dough and then fill it with dry beans (rice also works). Put the dough in the oven, bake for seven minutes (or until set) an then bake for another eight minutes without the improv-pie weights and let cool.

For the Filling

  1. 1/4 cup of dutch process cocoa
  2. 1/2 cup of sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. tbsp of cornstarch
  5. 2 cups of milk
  6. 2 egg yolks
  7. 2 tbs of butter
  8. splash of vanilla extract

Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt, cornstarch and milk in a saucepan and put over medium-high heat until it reaches a boil whisking continuously. Continue to whisk for a minute after the boil. Beat the two egg yolks in a small bowl and combine half of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks–again whisking continuously– and then replace the egg-chocolate mixture into the rest of the chocolate mixture and put over medium heat for 1 minute.

Chocolate Mixture.

Chocolate Mixture.

Lastly, turn off the heat, set the oven to 275°F and then add the butter and vanilla to the chocolate custard. Let this cool for a few minutes and then pour the chocolate into the empty pie crust. Now for the fun part…

 

At school many people have asked me if I would consider a tattoo–I never half a full answer, but I am sure that if I did get one it would be of a whisk. Why interupt the recipe with this preface?

Because you will need energy and a whisk in order to make Meringue–To obtain stiff peaks put 2-3 egg whites in a metal or glass bowl (do not use plastic) and whisk briskly and continuously. After 3 minutes add a tbs of sugar and keep whisking, whisking and whisking! Repeat this until you have obtained stiff peaks at the end of the whisk.

 

One tablespoon of Sugar

Nice hairdo–soft peaks

Stiff Peaks!

Stiff Peaks!

Now–take a moment to rest your arm and then place the meringue on top of the uncooked pie, sprinkle with sugar and then bake for 15 minutes. I was not creative with the meringue, but you can use manipulate stiff peaks as decoration for the pie. Cool the pie for at least 2 hours, the custard will not stabilize if it is not completely cooled.

Rough, tough and hard to bluff.

Rough, tough and hard to bluff.