Chocolate Chiffon Pie

Chocolate Chiffon Pie (August 6, 2016)

My chocolate chiffon pie is the condition to which all chocolate pies aspire. Chocolate velvet upon buttery brown snap crowned by a firmament of vanilla clouds. One could do worse than to be reincarnated as this pie.

Its inspiration is the French Silk Pie as conceived by the iconic Baker’s Square chain of restaurants. More than a few years of my childhood, it replaced birthday cake at my party. Which isn’t to say this is a taste-alike. The original is toe-curlingly sweet whereas mine is practically restrained in the sugar department.

Don’t spare the expense of best quality cream, chocolate, and butter here. These affordable luxuries make a huge difference in the final product. And you certainly deserve it.

This recipe makes a 9-inch pie, enough for eight generous portions.

Chocolate Chiffon Pie
1 recipe All-Butter Pie Crust
70g white sugar
2g salt
430g whole milk
5 egg yolks
22g cornstarch
12g vanilla extract
115g semisweet chocolate chips
200g heavy cream
20g vanilla sugar*
400g heavy cream

Blind-bake and completely cool pie crust in a 9-inch pan.

Weigh white sugar, salt, and milk into a saucepan. Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl until lightened. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth.

Heat milk mixture over medium until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and, while whisking eggs constantly, ladle in about half a cup of the hot milk. Whisking the milk as you do so, add the eggs back into the saucepan and return to medium heat.

Continue whisking constantly with special attention paid to the bottom and edges of the pan to prevent scorching. Cook for a full minute, whisking all along, after the mixture returns to a boil. It should read at least 180º on a thermometer. It will be frighteningly thick. Don’t worry, you did it right.

Immediately pour the pudding into a clean bowl and all the chocolate chips and vanilla. Whisk until the chips are completely melted and smooth. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap pressed right onto its surface and then place the bowl into an ice bath. Park it all in the fridge. Stir every ten minutes and chill to 60º.

Whip 200g of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Stir a third of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate pudding until completely combined. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the finished chiffon into the blind-baked pie shell, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least six hours.

Add the vanilla sugar to the 400g of heavy cream and beat to firm peaks. You can spoon and smooth it upon the chilled pie or pipe it on with a #22 star tip. Whatever’s clever. Keeps in the fridge for three days but is at its best the day it’s made.

* To make vanilla sugar, split a vanilla pod and scrape out the beans into 600-ish grams of white sugar. Blitz in the food processor for one minute then pour into a sealable container with the spent vanilla pod. Or buy it on Amazon with overnight shipping. Patience is cheaper, though.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Triangles of Belgian waffles drizzled with dark chocolate sauce.

My dark chocolate sauce is really just a loose ganache, but I’m told by my husband that’s a super unappetizing description. Nevertheless, there you are. With all of the milk and cream, this sauce truly deserves to be called velvety.

I love it on my Caramel Belgian Waffles, but I’m sure you’ll find a million uses for it without a single hint from me. But if I was going to give you a hint, it would involve a slice of warm bread pudding and a scoop of rum ice cream.

This really isn’t the sort of sauce that takes to reheating, but if you must, do it very gently over the lowest flame (stirring constantly!) until just smooth.

This recipe yields about a cup of sauce.

Dark Chocolate Sauce
113g semisweet chocolate chips (I’m partial to Ghiradelli 60% dark)
a heavy pinch of salt
6g cocoa powder, sifted
10g sugar
58g heavy cream
61g whole milk
14g unsalted butter
12g rum
2g vanilla

Into a medium, heat-proof bowl, weigh chocolate chips, salt, cocoa powder, and sugar.

In a small saucepan, heat cream and milk until barely simmering, stirring constantly. The sugars in the milk want to stick to the bottom of the pan, so a heat-proof silicon spatula is your best friend here.

Immediately pour the hot cream into the bowl and whisk for ten seconds. Allow to stand for a minute and then whisk until smooth. Add butter, rum, vanilla, and whisk to combine.