by Stephanie Zonis
8 to 10 servings
I develop a lot of recipes that use dark chocolate these days, but here's one for milk chocolate lovers everywhere. A crust made of chocolate wafers surrounds a luxurious, creamy, milk chocolatey interior, and the whipped cream topping provides the last word in indulgence. If you'd rather, make the crust from graham crackers (the sugar in the crust should be omitted if you do so). Either way, thinly sliced strawberries sprinkled with sugar and allowed to stand at room temperature for an hour or so, covered and stirred occasionally, are a nice accompaniment. As you might guess, this dessert is best after a light meal!
The quality of the milk chocolate you use is very important. There are a number of good brands available these days, including Callebaut, Schokinag, Merckens, and more. Chop the chocolate finely before melting it with the heavy cream. Occasionally, even better-quality milk chocolate can be stubborn about melting. If that happens, scrape the chocolate-cream mixture into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process at high speed just until smooth.
Once prepared, this pie must chill at least 4 hours before serving. It is best eaten within 24 hours of being made, however, and it will not freeze.
1-1/3 lightly packed cups chocolate wafer crumbs (I use Nabisco Famous brand)
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces best-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. nonalkalized (non-Dutch process) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
2-1/3 cups whole milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Finely grated milk chocolate
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, combine chocolate wafer crumbs and sugar; mix thoroughly. Add melted butter and stir until well-blended. Turn crust mixture into 9 inch heatproof glass pie plate.
Use about 2/3 of crust mixture for sides of crust, forming a high standing rim with the back of a spoon or your fingers (the rim should rise slightly above the edge of the pie plate). Compact the remaining crust mixture evenly on the bottom of the pie plate. Try not to have the crust too thick where bottom and sides met.
Bake crust in preheated oven 6 to 7 minutes, or until set. Remove to cooling rack; cool completely before filling.
Have ready a fine-meshed strainer set over a liquid measuring cup or small pitcher of at least 4 cup capacity. Set aside near stovetop. Have ready a piece of plastic wrap large enough to cover the top of the pie, pierced in 12 to 20 or more places with a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife. Set aside near pie crust.
Place finely chopped chocolate into small heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add about half of cream to chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute, then stir or whisk gently until smooth. Gradually stir remaining cream into chocolate. Set mixture aside near stovetop.
Into 2 quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot, sift sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine well. Set aside. Place egg yolks in small bowl; with fork, gradually beat in 1/3 cup milk (reserve remainder). Pour yolk mixture into sugar mixture in pot. with whisk, stir (do not beat!) until combined, scraping pot sides and bottom with rubber spatula. Mixture will be of an even color but may contain small lumps—OK.
In small saucepan over low heat, heat remaining 2 cups milk until very hot, stirring occasionally. Very gradually add to egg mixture, stirring (not beating!) constantly. When all of milk has been added, place mixture over medium heat.
Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. There may be a layer of foam on top while mixture heats—OK. As mixture comes to a boil, this foam will start to disappear into it. Just before it boils, mixture will lump horribly—that's fine. Keep stirring constantly. As mixture boils, it will thicken and smooth out substantially. Reduce heat if filling boils hard. Boil and stir 1-1/2 minutes; remove from heat.
Immediately add melted milk chocolate mixture and vanilla. Gently stir just until combined, then strain through fine-meshed strainer. Without waiting, fill the cooled pie crust (crust will be very full). Quickly place the pierced plastic wrap directly on top of the filling (this prevents a "skin" from forming on top of the filling). Place pie in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.
At least 20 minutes before you want to make the topping, chill a small metal bowl and beater(s) in the refrigerator. When well-chilled, pour cream into bowl. Beat cream at high speed until traces of beater marks can be seen in the cream. Add sugar. Beat at low speed to incorporate sugar, then beat at high speed until cream holds stiff peaks.
Remove pie from refrigerator and peel off plastic wrap. Pile whipped cream on top of pie and spread to cover filling. Garnish with finely shaved or grated milk chocolate. Serve immediately!
To cut, use a large, sharp knife, running the blade under hot water and drying it frequently to keep cuts neat.
Copyright © 2001 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created May 2001
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