chocolate custard pie

March 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm 5 comments

Happy belated Pi(e) Day, everybody! Get it? 3/14? 3.14? Bueller?

As you can no doubt guess, I opted to celebrate by baking, rather than throwing some sort of crazy math party. And the real kicker?

I made my own pie crust.

GASP, right? I didn’t enjoy it. It stressed me out. But now that I’ve done it once, it will be a lot less intimidating the next time. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it was a lot denser than I expected it to be. I even bought a pastry cutter. And I was really careful to keep my chunks of butter pea-sized, so that they could work their magic and make my crust flaky…and it was flaky, it was just…dense and flaky. I’m thinking maybe the problem had to do with the nature of my pie (pre-baked crust = chilled pie) vs the nature of my crust recipe (pie baked at the same time as crust), but let’s back up a bit.

I got this recipe from a friend who I met playing video games online. This is the friend who convinced me that Bisquick is for suckers, and that it snows a heck of a lot more in Canada than in North Carolina (ok, so I knew that already, but he gave me undeniable photographic evidence). The recipe calls for a 9″ pie crust, baked. It does not specifically say for you to make it from scratch yourself. I’ve now made it both ways (the Pillsbury way and the Erin way), and honestly, the Pillsbury crust was better than mine. So I’m not going to share a pie crust recipe with you, until I find one that I can make successfully. In the meantime, if you already make fabulous pie crust, by all means, make your own. Otherwise, buy a premade version. I hear Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts are darn near as good as homemade.

This pie comes together very quickly once you start, so make sure you’re alert and armed with a whisk. It also suggests topping with meringue, but when I made this, I had not yet learned that you could make a meringue without baking your pie, and as this is a chill-in-the-fridge pie, I was very confused about that whole baking it step. I opted for fresh whipped cream instead.

As it turned out, I was the only person in my office who celebrated Pi(e) Day (GASP AGAIN, right?), so mine was the only pie in attendance on Monday. Good thing I went with chocolate.

MP’s Chocolate Custard Pie

  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 (1 oz) squares bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and egg yolks together, until smooth. Using your whisk, gradually stir into the sugar mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (once it starts to thicken, it will thicken quickly, so keep stirring).

Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Stir until melted and thoroughly combined.

Pour into baked pie crust. Smooth plastic wrap down over the filling (don’t just stretch across the crust, you don’t want air between the plastic and the filling), to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool, then move to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour, preferably two. Top with fresh whipped cream. Raspberries would also be delicious.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mental Patient  |  March 24, 2010 at 12:44 am

    There are a few key steps to good pie crusts.

    Keep your ingredients cool. If you cut in shortening or lard, put it in the fridge for awhile. Butter? Freeze it a little. I put my mixing bowl in the freezer for several minutes, use a good thick bowl. The water you add must be ice cold too. Work quickly.

    After cutting in, ball it up, wrap it and put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before rolling it out. Don’t worry if it’s a little difficult balling it up, the rest in the fridge will bring it together.

    The amount of water will come from experience. Too little and it can be no fun rolling it out, too much and it will roll nice but be very dense.

    I prefer shortening over lard. I find the lard makes it too greasy and I don’t like the texture. Some people mix butter and lard.

    As for cooking, usually pie filling that are liquid or very moist require the blind baking of the pie crust. This helps stop the liquid soaking in the crust during cooking and giving hard crusts.

    p.s. GG on scrapping the pancake mixes. ;-)

    Reply
  • 2. erin  |  March 24, 2010 at 6:40 am

    OH maybe I put too much water in it! I like the tip about sticking it back in the fridge before rolling it out…I hadn’t thought of that. I actually went for all butter on this one. Shortening and lard both freak me out a little (ok, lard freaks me out a lot).

    And re: pancake mixes, thanks! Although I still contend that my Grandpa’s blueberry pancakes are the best in the world, and I’m pretty sure he uses a mix. Must just be him that makes them so good.

    Reply
  • 3. Mental Patient  |  March 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Pancakes are all about technique. :-)

    Reply
  • 4. annette  |  March 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Mrs. Hale made the best pie crust. I expect she still does, when she’s healthy enough to cook. I’d be willing to bet she used lard.. it’s the only explaination I can come up with for why her pie crust was so much better than Mom’s.. I’m sure there was *never* lard in our house. :)

    I have made pie crust.. back when I was young like you. :) and sometimes for some things you have to make it yourself.. like if you want to make pasties.. which I also haven’t done since I was young like you I don’t reckon. by the time you guys were old enough you’d consider eating them, pillsbury had done a better job of making pie crust than I ever did so I didn’t. I figure they probably enjoy doing it more than I do, too.

    Reply
  • 5. Jason  |  April 14, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Great article. Thanks

    Reply

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