Devilishly Good Chocolate Pie
SoupAddict is bit of a chocolate snob. It’s true.
But she’s also a chocolate opportunist. So while she might bake with only Valrhona or Callebaut or E. Guittard chocolate, she would never look a gift Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookie horse in the mouth.
(Well, she might actually look a cookie horse in the mouth, because it would be fascinating to see just what’s in a cookie horse’s mouth. No need for SoupAddict to look a regular horse in the mouth, because she already knows what it’s like in there. Yessireee, indeedy. But that’s a story for another post.)
Not everybody is willing to spring for Valrhona chocolate in these impossible economic times, but some recipes just scream out for the best chocolate you can afford. (And truth be told, Ghirardelli isn’t that bad. There’s a big difference between Valrhona and fairly inexpensive Ghirardelli, but there’s just as big of a difference between Ghirardelli and Hershey’s. And another truth be told, if you offered SoupAddict a Hershey’s chocolate chip cookie, she would eat it. And enjoy it.)
But, whatever chocolate you deem to spend your hard earned dollars on, SoupAddict highly recommends that it goes in this pie. This achingly delicious Devil’s Creme Pie was created by a certain Ms. Gesine Bullock-Prado, who already earned SoupAddict’s esteem via her book, My Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a Time, but then sealed that esteem in stone when she partnered with King Arthur Flour. And anyone who is smart enough to partner with the lovely peeps at King Arthur Flour is, you know, well, smart. And Super-A-Okay in SoupAddict’s book.
“What’s this?” you ask chocolate snob SoupAddict, “Are those Oreo cookies?” Yes, indeedy. SoupAddict is not a fan of crunchy cookies, but she would be totally blowing smoke — not to mention outright wrong — if she tried to claim that Oreos don’t make fabulous pie crusts. Because they do. Yes, indeedy-o.
Since the crust of this pie has only two ingredients — Oreos and butter — SoupAddict used the best butter she could find, which happened to be Plugrá. Despite the little thingy over the “a,” Plugrá is an American butter made in the European style (basically, it has a higher content of butterfat than other brands, like Land O’ Lakes. Butterfat = creamy goodness). Other really amazing butters often found in grocery stores include Vermont Creamery, Kerrygold and Lurpak.
SoupAddict actually cut this recipe more or less in half, and is preparing a pie for two in her 6″ springform pan. The Oreo-butter crust is so good that SoupAddict kept “accidentally” dropping nickel-sized bits of it on the cutting board and saying “Oops, silly me!” and munching on the crumbs. (Which was kind of weird, because she was alone at the time and therefore did not really need to go through the elaborate hoopla of “accidentally” spilling crumbs and pretending to be sorry about it. Because she so wasn’t.)
SoupAddict must say that, next to actually eating the pie, this was the best part of the process: making the creamy chocolate filling. Even though it sort of resembles chocolate soup, this stuff is good enough to eat right out the bowl with a spoon. Not that she did that. No, sir.
To ensure a smooth result, filter the chocolate filling through a sieve. This removes clumpy gelatin, unmelted chocolate and stray fruit flies.
Just kidding about the fruit flies. SoupAddict always thoroughly hoses down her counters with Raid before cooking.[Yo, kidding...]
If SoupAddict had been paying attention to the pie and not her substandard camera tripod, which is about to crumble into a dozen pieces at any moment, she would’ve popped those bubbles with a sterilized pin and given the pan a little rap on the counter before refrigerating the pie to set.
Three hours later, the sun has set on SoupAddict’s house, requiring icky indoor photography lighting. The devil’s creme pie has set as well, with air bubbles perfectly intact. SoupAddict is certain you’ll do better.
Just before serving, whip up the meringue. It’s hard to tell with this icky indoor lighting, but the meringue is creamy but firm, pure white, and gorgeously pearlized. SoupAddict really just wanted to upend the whisk attachment on the dining room table and leave the whole thing as an art deco piece.
SoupAddict is most definitely not an gifted pastry decorator, and she feels like a fraud whenever she fills a piping bag.
See? How ridiculous. Fortunately, the sharer of this pie is SoupAddict’s official recipe-tryer-outer guinea pig, and he’s quite used to the ridiculousness of her pie and cake decorations.
To add insult to injury, the piping tip later went down the garbage disposal, for a most unfitting end to a ridiculous effort that was not at all the tip’s fault.
(Ah, thank you next day’s natural lighting — that’s much better.) This pie was so delicious, with its buttery Oreo chew followed by smooth Valrhona bliss, that SoupAddict even forgave herself for her ridiculous piping efforts. Next time, she’ll just spread the meringue around in a swirl and torch the entire thing until golden. Theoretically, it should be hard to screw that up.
Plus, SoupAddict + Hand-Held Fire sounds like a fabulous combination and not at all dangerous to her kitchen curtains, don’t you think?
Devil’s Creme Pie
adapated from “My Life from Scratch” by Gesine Bullock-Prado
For the crust:
1/2 package (18 ounces) Oreos, crushed (*SoupAddict’s Note: I could only find 16oz packages at my grocery store)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan (or use nonstick spray)
For the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup whole milk
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
For the meringue topping:
10 egg whites
2 cups sugar
For the crust:
Lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with butter or nonstick spray.
Pulverize the Oreos in a food processor until very fine.
Please the Oreos in a bowl, add half the butter and mix with a spoon. You don’t want the finished product to be wet; you simply want it to hold together when you pinch a bit between your fingers.
Transfer the cookie mix to the pan and pat the crumbs so that they coat the bottom and sides evenly. Set the crust aside.
For the filling:
In a heavy saucepan, bring the heavy cream, vanilla and the sugar to a low boil. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the milk, letting it sit until looks completely damp and starts to bloom. Give it a quick stir.
Take the cream off the heat once it reaches a boil and pour in the milk-gelatin mixture. Stir with a whisk to incorporate the gelatin, then immediately add the chocolate. Stir so the hot liquid completely covers the chocolate. Let this sit for a few minutes, then whisk the chocolate, making sure that it is completely melted and combined with the liquid.
Holding a sieve over the crust, pour the chocolate mixture into the sieve so that any unmelted clumped of gelatin are left behind. Carefully transfer to the refrigerator and leave several hours until set, uncovered, or overnight.
For the meringue topping:
Place the egg whites and the sugar in a mixing bowl and set over simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and the temperature reaches 160°F. Do not walk away from the bowl. It will not take long to reach the required temperature, and you need to whisk continuously to prevent the eggs whites from scrambling. Pour the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Turn to high. Once the egg whites start to foam up, keep an eye on the mixture. You want stiff peaks; that is, when you lift the whisk out of the meringue, it should leave behind peaks whose tips don’t bend over.
When the egg whites have reached the stiff peaks stage, the meringue is ready to use. You can spread it over the completely set pie, or fill a piping bag and pipe designs onto pie. Gesine has a pictures of the pie on her blog with these really awesomely piped spikes. Very appropriate for a pie named Devil’s Creme. Also, I’m thinking that the meringue in those pictures was whipped just slightly short of stiff peaks, as they appear to be very creamy. To finish off the presentation, you can use a kitchen torch to lightly brown the meringue.