Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chocolate Cream Pie (Rose Levy Beranbaum)

This is absolutely the best chocolate filling--if it makes it into the pie crust. As a word of warning: don't taste it till you lick the spatula from scraping the filling into the pie crust. Otherwise, you may be tempted to eat it all up! It comes from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible.

1 Prebaked 9-inch pie crust
2 large eggs
1/4 cp/24 g unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
3T/28 g cornstarch
3 cp/726 g milk (fat free is fine)
2/3 cp/132 g granulated sugar
pinch salt
6 oz/170 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Have ready a strainer set over a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cocoa, cornstarch and 1/4 cp of the milk until smooth.

In a medium nonreactive heavy saucepan, stir together the remaining 2 3/4 cups of milk, the sugar, and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil. (You only have to stir it once at the beginning.) Whisk 1/4 cup of this hot mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the milk mixture. Cook, continuing to whisk rapidly being sure to go into the edge of the pan, until the mixture thickens and pools a little when dropped on the surface. (This will only take a few minutes.)

Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and butter. Continue whisking until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. whisk in the vanilla extract. Using a rubber spatula, immediately press the mixture through the strainer and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin form forming. Allow it to cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Pour the chocolate filling into the baked pie shell. It will fill the shell up to the top. Place the piece of plastic wrap back on the surface and refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours.

You may top this with whipped heavy cream (1 cup/232 g) sweetened with 1 T powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and stabilized with 1 tsp (?) cornstarch mixed with the sugar. RLB suggests decorating with chocolate curls and raspberries.

Variation: for a less bittersweet, more milk chocolate filling, replace the milk with half-and-half, decrease the sugar to 1/2 cup/100 g, omit the cocoa and increase the chocolate to 10 oz/24 g.

Store refrigerated up to 3 days.

Do not beat the filling vigorously after cooling, or it will break down. That's because of the cornstarch.

If making the pie a day ahead, it is preferable to brush the baked shell with white chocolate to keep it crisp. You will need to melt about 3 oz and will have about 2/3 oz left over. Chill the chocolate-brushed shell until the chocolate has hardened before filling it. (Personally, I'd just melt 2 1/4 oz and pour it all in and spread it around well.)

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