Never in my life have I re-created the same dish THREE TIMES in one week just because it didn't come out right the first time and I wanted to prove my worth.
Too bad it didn't come out right the second or third time either.
So why post this on a blog and try to get you to make it? Because I think I've FINALLY found the solution!
Here was the problem with pie #1: when mixing the sugar & butter (first step), the sugar ended up being grainy and stayed grainy all the way up through the final product. The pie tasted wonderful, but the grainy texture was a total turn-off.
Problem with pie #2: I asked the pastry chefs at my restaurant (Bobby Flay's pastry chefs, mind you) what to do about the grainy thing, and they suggested using pure cane sugar and beating it a lot longer than I had before (for a total of about 10 minutes at least). Only thing was, I went to WholeFoods, and they only had organic cane sugar, which turned out even MORE grainy than my first batch! I had to throw it all away before I even got half way through with the recipe.
Problem with pie #3: Ok, so this was definitely the best pie out of the 3 (thank goodness!), but being SO frustrated with my first two pies, I resorted to using a sugar that was sure to end up creamy and smooth. Powdered sugar. Absolutely blasphemous to those of you who know chocolate cream pies are meant to be light and airy and fluffy (powdered sugar creates a very dense chocolate cream), but hey, at least it tasted good, and I didn't end up throwing my new KitchenAid Mixer across the kitchen.
Anyhoo, after THREE (ugh, how embarrassing) mostly failed attempts, I went back to Bobby Flay's pastry chefs and begged them to wave their magic spatula and make me a better cook.
They left their magic spatula home that day. Bummer.
But I think we did figure it out!
Pastry Chef Said (pronounced 'Sah-eed'. He's from Casablanca! For reals. And no, he hasn't seen the movie.), "Which attachment did you use on your mixer to cream the butter and sugar?"
Me: "Well, the recipe said to whisk the eggs in later, so I was using the whisk attachment."
Said: "You crazy pants! You should try using the paddle attachment for the butter and sugar and beat it until it looks white and fluffy!"
Except he didn't call me crazy pants.
But maybe he should have.
It all makes sense now. When I make my buttercream frosting, I beat sugar and butter the exact same way as this recipe and it comes out great every time. Why? Because I use the paddle attachment for that recipe. Duh.
So, I dare you; nay, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU, to try this recipe the way it was meant to be made. And tell me how it turns out. Because I have a feeling I may not attempt this one for a very, very long time.
Chocolate Cream Pie
Said's way, not mine.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: none
Difficulty: Intermediate (or advanced if you're like me. Oi.)
Servings: 1 pie (9")
- 4 oz. Unsweetened Baking Chocolate (more if you want to make chocolate curls)
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup sugar (pure cane sugar like Domino or C&H)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 baked pie shell, 9" (regular, graham cracker or chocolate - all taste great!)
- 1 tub whipped cream, if desired
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 4 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate (20 second intervals on high). Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer AND USING THE PADDLE ATTACHMENT, beat butter and sugar together until white and fluffy (about 5-10 minutes). Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Now switch to your whisk attachment and on medium speed, add in the 4 eggs, one at time, whisking mixture for 4-5 minutes in between each addition. This will make your mixture light and fluffy. Once eggs are in, add the cooled chocolate, mixing just until completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate if you'd like, to help keep everything nice and light.
Once everything is well mixed, pour it into your 9" pie shell. Smooth out the filling on top and chill in your fridge for at least 2 hours (longer is better). Serve with a heaping mound of whipped cream on top and some chocolate curls.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CURLS:
I knew you were going to ask! It's very simple, really. Melt another 1/4 cup of your baking chocolate, and spread it fairly thin onto a non-stick baking pan. Put this in the fridge to harden up for about 4 minutes, checking on it every minute after that until it's ready. It'll be ready when you press your finger on top and it makes a very slight indent in the chocolate. If it's sticky, keep it in the fridge longer, if your finger makes no mark, take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes.
When it's chilled long enough, take it out of the fridge and, using a butter knife or spoon (a spoon helps encourage the "curling" shape), scrape the chocolate up in a long line so that it curls. If it's coming up in just a long strip (i.e. not curling), try putting it back in the fridge for a minute. If it's flaking off in chunks, leave it out on the counter for a minute. Just play around with it until you get it right! Have fun!