Friday, 25 November 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie: SEX

My mum came over last weekend and stayed with me in London for the first time in about three years. That’s not to say that she hasn’t visited me in London….but the semi-squat-semi-condemned-rodent-bedbug infested party house I was living in at the time wasn’t quite mum-friendly enough for a sleepover…

As I now live in the most respectable of abodes…. and am approaching my first Christmas away from my family, it was time for her to visit Muswell Hill and be reassured her little girl is not sharing her house with mad-cat-man, cellar-dwelling crackhead and all manner of chemicals and Camdenites.

In true mother and daughter tradition, we got a chick-flick we’d been wanting to watch together for a while.  A food (and blog) film – Julie & Julia.   While the film focuses more on the characters than the food itself, it does have some pretty luscious food photography.  One of the first recipes Julie makes after a hard day is a chocolate cream pie.  A birds-eye shot of the graham cracker base being filled with oozing chocolate mixture is pretty sexy and the next morning Alex  (yes, he did watch it with us) asked for that pie. That exact pie. The pie that she makes in the film. 

I like a project and pleasingly a Google search provided a large number of chocolate cream-pie option.  Not being able to find graham crackers in the local Tesco I riffed with amaretto biscuits, and rather than using entirely chocolate chips, I did a ratio of dark chocolate to plain chips, hoping the cocoa butter in the cooking chocolate would work the cooking and setting process, while the dark chocolate would stave off that cheap chocolate taste.
The amaretto crumb base, while tasting good, was a bit overpowering and in a panic of it cracking, I made it too thick.  Next time, thinner, and with digestives.   A little less sugar if you’re a bit more grownup but otherwise the filling was sweet, silky and very sexy.

I adapted an American recipe, hence the cup measurements.  I don’t have an American cup thingy, so just used a smallish tumbler and used the same one throughout so as to keep ratios the same.

Chocolate Cream Pie


1 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g good quality chocolate, around 75% cocoa solids, broken up fine
1 ¼  cup plain chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks lightly whisked
teaspoon vanilla extract
150 ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon cocoa


2 1/3 cups amaretto or digestive biscuit crumbs (if using digestive use 2 cups digestives, 1.3 cup sugar)
7-8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 1)   Preheat oven to 180 celcius. Mix the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs.  Press using fingers into a buttered and greaseproof papered 20 cm diameter cake or pie tin till evenly around 3 mm thick.
2)   Put in oven for around 15-30 minutes then take out to cool.

3)   In a medium saucepan over low heat stir the sugar, corn flour, chocolate chips and chocolate pieces, and salt until melted then slowly pour in the milk in stages.

4)   It will stay runny for ages, but continue to stir and suddenly it will thicken. Continue to stir until it starts to bubble gloopily. 

5)   Pour half the chocolate mixture in into a bowl with the lightly whisked egg yolks and whisk furiously then add the whole lot back in the saucepan, again stirring well.

6)   Pour into the cooled pie crust. Put into the fridge for 5/6 hours or until set. Whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon on top, sieve the cocoa powder on top of the cream for decoration.

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