I posted a photo on Facebook the other day, showing my face within striking distance of a delicious French chocolate pie. That sweet image – I'm referring to the pie, not my goofy mug – prompted some requests for the recipe, so I'm posting it here.
Chocolate has been the subject of my scribbling before, but this will be about chocolate pie only. Naturally, I'm a chocolate lover, and I can eat me some chocolate pie – chocolate cream pie; chocolate mousse pie; French chocolate tart; or a hand-size, 99-cent, chocolate filled, Hubig's fried pie in New Orleans.
As with so many of my food fanaticisms, my lust for chocolate pie began during my youth in Illinois, where I fell in love with Mrs. Battoe's homemade chocolate cream pie at Battoe's Hi-Way Cafe in my hometown. My favorite meal when I was a little lad was Mrs. Battoe's scrumptious ham-salad sandwich, followed by a piece of her chocolate cream pie, at her heavenly restaurant on East St. Louis Street in Lebanon, Ill. (If she ran out of the chocolate, I would settle for a slice of the banana cream pie.)
Mrs. Battoe and the Hi-Way Cafe are both gone now, but my dark desire for chocolate cream pie lives on.
My appreciation of chocolate pie reached its pinnacle when I lived in Paris, France, and discovered the world's most chocolaty and rich version of a marriage between semisweet chocolate and slightly sweet crust. It was the chocolate tart. C'est bon! Très bon!
Well, I'm in Paris no more, for sure, so I have to make my own chocolate tart or pie. Thus, I make what's in the photo above, and here's the recipe message that I sent to my Facebook friends:
OK, finally some time to send the fast and simple steps for the chocolate pie. It's supposed to be a French chocolate tart, but I make it a pie by using a Marie Callender's pie shell. (You see, when we lived at Yokota Air Base, the U.S. Air Force Base on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, the commissary had Marie Callender's frozen pie shells in a package of two for 99 cents, and I said they might be cheap but they must be good because they're by Marie Callender, and they were good!)
Here's the ingredients:
6 oz. dark chocolate, broken up (I use a 4 oz. baking bar of Nestles dark bittersweet chocolate and add about 3 oz. of a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar, because that's what we always have on hand. So, I actually use about 7 oz. or 8 oz. of dark chocolate.)
1 cup heavy cream (I actually use a little 1/2-pint carton of Prairie Farms whipping cream.)
1/2 cup milk (I actually use Prairie Farms 2 percent low fat.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (I happen to use jumbo eggs or large eggs.)
1 pie shell (The commissary at nearby Scott Air Force Base carries the Marie Callender shells for barely more than a dollar, and I love 'em. Or go crazy and make a round or square tart shell from scratch. Me? I lightly brown a Marie shell for 10-15 minutes, and I'm a happy jarhead.)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Then bring the sugar, milk and cream to a boil in a pan on the stovetop. Remove from the heat and gradually add and stir in chocolate pieces until melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk the eggs together briefly in a bowl and gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture. (I use an aluminum-steel bowl, whisking with my right hand and slowing pouring the chocolate mix with my left hand, while the bowl magically spins on the kitchen countertop and against my bionic abdomen, staying in place until the mixture is perfectly combined. Jarhead genius. Heh, heh, heh.) Now pour that luscious stuff into the pre-baked pie shell and bake for 20-30 minutes until set. (It takes almost 30 minutes in our oven.) I let it cool on a pie rack on the kitchen counter for a long time, because the center stays warm quite a while. You can top each piece of pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a couple spoonfuls of strawberry yogurt or you can be French and eat it with no topping but with a couple of fresh strawberries on the side. It's silky smooth but thick-set and very rich, although it doesn't look quite like that in the photo that my Annie took of it with my goofy mug. (And, yep, I removed half the pie from Marie's disposable pie tin into a glass pie pan for the photo.)
Enjoy! (Got milk?!)