French Silk Pie

I just returned from our annual family Christmas gathering, where I had the honor of preparing the family feast.  Most of the offerings on the menu used familiar ingredients in slightly unexpected ways, such as shredded Brussels sprouts with shallots and bacon, corn fritters, or honeyed apples.  The turkey was brined, rubbed, glazed and roasted to delicious perfection — if I may say so myself — but the hit of the day was the desserts, and particularly this French Silk Pie

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This is a super-simple no-bake recipe that requires only a stand mixer, a spatula, a piping kit and a Microplane grater.  Here are your ingredients:

  • 9″ prebaked pie crust
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 oz. softened butter
  • 9 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 oz. vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. pasteurized eggs
  • Whipped cream for garnish
  • Grated or shaved semi-sweet chocolate for garnish

If you’re feeling hardcore about it (I wasn’t) you can make your own pie crust (I didn’t).  I used a store-bought graham cracker crust, in part for convenience, in part due to a bit of laziness, and also just because I think it goes well with this kind of pie.

Start by gently melting your chocolate using a double boiler.  If you don’t have one of those, just heat an inch of water to a simmer in a sauce pan and set an appropriately sized metal mixing bowl on top of it — voila, instant double boiler.  I used a bar of Baker’s brand unsweetened chocolate, which just happens to come in a very convenient 4-ounce package — almost like it was designed for this recipe.  Resist the urge to substitute semi-sweet chocolate unless you like your pie severely sweet — remember, we have twice the weight of sugar to chocolate in our formula.

While your chocolate is melting ever so gently, add the butter and sugar to your stand mixer bowl and cream them with the paddle attachment on medium-low speeduntil light and fluffy.  That should take a few minutes, and you will likely need to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula a couple times.  Next mix in the vanilla and the melted chocolate — which should not be super-hot by the way, or it will melt the butter — and blend until thoroughly combined.

Switch to the whip attachment for your mixer to incorporate the eggs.  It is very important to use pasteurized eggs here, because they will not be cooked.  You can buy them by the dozen if your grocer carries them, or just use the simple shortcut of buying Egg Beaters or a similar brand of pourable pasteurized eggs.  Either way we’ll be using whole eggs with both whites and yolks.  Add the eggs about one-third at a time and whip for about 5 minutes after each addition until the mixture gradually becomes light and fluffy.

After all of the eggs are worked in, your mixture should be an airy-looking chocolate mousse.  Spread this evenly into the pie crust and chill until thoroughly set and thick enough to cut with a knife.  Finish the pie by piping on a decorative topping of whipped cream, then use your grater to add a dusting of semi-sweet chocolate for the finishing touch.

This pie was seriously delish, and the family munched it right down with big happy grins all around.  It won’t do any favors for your waistline, but what the heck, you have to live a little.  Besides, holiday cheer and all that.  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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3 thoughts on “French Silk Pie

  1. Hi Dave, that pie sounds awesome. Only problem is my girlfriend that’s coming over hates chocolate. I’m wondering if you could use white chocolate ? Please let me know what you think? Thanks Becky

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    1. The catch with white chocolate is that it is not actually chocolate — there’s nothing from the cocoa plant in it, only fat and sugar. I think it would probably work, though, because it behaves the same way when melted.

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