The Weekly Kitchen: In Praise of a Silky-Smooth Pie

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By ANGELA McRAE, Special to The Weekly

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Hartwell, Georgia. My friend Kathy and I had just finished browsing a local artisan fair and stopped by a downtown café for lunch. Our sandwiches were delicious and filling, which was unfortunate, because it was only after we’d already eaten that we decided to check out the refrigerator cases brimming with desserts for sale.

Now I can’t remember the name of the enormous pie slice I saw that day, but it was something like Caramel Turtle Chocolate Crunch Pie and looked like it had about three inches of whipped cream adorning the top. Since I was going home the next day, I didn’t want the bother of packing a slice of refrigerator pie and lugging it to the hotel and then back to Newnan.

Part of me wishes I had, though. At this time of the year, a creamy, cool slice of pie is such a fine idea.

When I first began researching vintage recipes, I wondered why so many recipes existed for something called French Silk Pie. It turned out the recipe wasn’t French at all, and the “silk” in the name simply referred to the silky, velvety-smooth texture of the pie.

One “silky” pie that I have enjoyed making is this Chocolate Silk Pie once served at a tearoom in Virginia. It’s quite easy to make, even if it does require a good bit of beating, and the hardest part is making sure to buy pasteurized eggs, which are important to use in this recipe since they’re uncooked. With whipped cream and chocolate jimmies on top, this pie looks much fancier than it is, making it a great candidate for summer celebrations.

Chocolate Silk Pie

Crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted according to package directions and cooled
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pasteurized eggs (since this filling is uncooked, it’s important to use pasteurized eggs)

Garnish

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate Jimmies

Chill a 9-inch pie plate in your refrigerator or freezer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add just enough graham cracker crumbs to make a slightly crumbly mixture. Press evenly into pie plate and cook for 5 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the pie filling.

With electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar till light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, salt and vanilla. Add one egg and beat for 5 minutes. Add second egg and beat for 5 minutes. Add third egg and beat for 5 minutes. Pour filling into cooled pie shell and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Before serving, prepare whipped cream by adding confectioners’ sugar to the heavy whipping cream and beating with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Pipe or spread onto top of pie and garnish with chocolate Jimmies.

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