Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, Don't You Cry. Verse 2.

This culinary adventure was inspired by the upcoming ward talent show. I had just learned to sing the pie song and accompany myself on guitar, which the way I do it is kind of like the servant who was only in charge of one talent and goes and buries it in the backyard. So that on its own wouldn't have merited signing up for the ward talent show. But my roommate Julia Child suggested that I couple it with an actual pie, and the postmodern appeal was just too much for me to pass up. I practiced the song and made a plan for Julia Child to help me out by serving the pie while I sang. And thus begins our tale.

Our pie needed to be strawberry of some sort, because the song has it full of strawberry love. And even though a fresh strawberry pie is all sorts of lusciousness, what kind of showing off would it be to just make a fresh strawberry pie? So this is going to be a Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie. "Nobody in the world can make strawberry chocolate pie like you. Wednesday is my favorite day of the week just cause I get to have me a slice of it. I think about it as I’m waking up. It could solve all the problems of the world, that pie. It’s a thing of beauty….how each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. "

I had to make something up, but let's try to live up to expectations.

First of all, remember pâte brisée? Well, you should, because pâte brisée is your new BFF. I know that last week cumin was your BFF, but didn't you ever go to Girl Scout Camp? "Make new BFFs but keep the old - one is silver and the other gold."

I made a double recipe of the pâte brisée, which makes 4 crusts. I only actually needed 2, ends up, so unless you need four pies, don't double it. But I also accidentally doubled the chocolate filling so I used a whole nother crust just to contain my delicious cup runneth over.

Here's all you need for the Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie. You know what happens, though, when it's December and you're dead set on having strawberry pie? First of all, you pay 4 dollars a pound. Second of all, the strawberries are tasteless and sick. I think from now on this is a June Only Pie. It was still OK, but you can only compensate so far for tasteless sick strawberries.

For the chocolate part of the pie, I went to France. Virtually. All good pies, ultimately, come from France. They know how to not use too much sugar. I hate to tell you this, American friends, but I am a pinko subversive when it comes to American sweets. American Capitalist Pig Pie, that's what I should call all those other recipes for chocolate pies. They start with such a beautiful concept - chocolate in a pie shell - and then they adulterate it with their filthy capitalist lucre and put like four cups of sugar in it. No! Too much! Think of the proletariat!

So we're using a beautiful simplistic recipe. One that's beautiful and simplistic and lovely. And in French.

Ingrédients (pour 6 personnes) :
- 70 g de sucre
- 4 oeufs entiers
- 120 g de chocolat noir à cuire
- 50 cl de crème fraîche épaisse
- pâte (sablée, feuilletée ou brisée, selon votre goût) pour plat à tarte de 23 cm de diamètre

Préparation :

  • Dans une casserole, faire fondre à feu doux le chocolat cassé en morceaux dans 2 cuillères à soupe d'eau, jusqu'à obtenir un ensemble lisse.
  • Ajouter tout le sucre, continuer de mélanger au fouet.
  • Ajouter les quatre oeufs un à un, mélanger toujours au fouet.
  • Ajouter la crème fraîche épaisse, et mélanger.
  • Tapisser le moule de la pâte à tarte, la piquer, y verser la préparation ci-dessus.
  • Mettre au four (préchauffé à 180°C) durant 20 à 25 min. Piquer pour voir si c'est cuit selon la convenance.
Good thing someone got her bachelor's degree in a totally unmarketable liberal arts subject!

-70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
-4 whole eggs
-120 grams dark baking chocolate (3/4 cups if they're chocolate chips)
-50 centiliters crème fraîche. (Good luck finding crème fraîche. Try heavy whipping cream. 2 cups of it)
-pie crust

On low heat, melt the chocolate in 2 tablespoons of water. Did anyone in America ever tell you to melt chocolate into water? No! They didn't! It's like a state secret they hid from us or something. If you're not using chocolate chips, if you're using baking bars or something else delicious, chop them before this step.

Mix until smooth

Add in the sugar

Add in the eggs, one at a time (this looks like a lot in my pan - it's because I'm making a double recipe. You just keep following that single recipe I gave you there, though. Unless you want a LOTTA chocolate pie. Even if you're making the two pies, just do the single recipe)

Add the cream. Pretty!

At this point, the mixture was way too pale for my taste so I added two huge heaping spoonfuls of cocoa. It could've still been more, but some of my audience commented on the darkness of the chocolate so apparently this was enough for them.

Next step: get chocolate on virtually every cooking surface available to you.

Now we roll out the pâte brisée, which may seem like a daunting task, but you will be fine. The whole point of this crust is to not touch it very much so the chunks of butter remain chunks of butter until it's time for them to melt and make your crust beautiful and flaky. So even though it seems like your pile of dough is crumbling into oblivion, just keep patting the sides together and rolling and rolling and eventually...


I pulled off the edges of dough to make the extra hearts. I thought I'd need a whole separate crust to cut the hearts out of, but I didn't. So now I have a whole separate crust in my freezer, awaiting the next adventure.

Pour the chocolate mixture, which is very very liquid and really makes you doubt its ability to set up, into the crusts. I had made a double batch of chocolate, heaven knows why, because I had planned to only pour half a recipe into each pie to leave room for the strawberries.

Now we bake it at 350 for 20-25 minutes, which is really more like a half hour plus some 5-minute snoozes. Basically just cook it until the center doesn't move like liquid anymore, which despite my scoffing, actually happened.

Meanwhile, let's make the strawberry glaze! Start by making a corn starch slurry. All the best things in life start with a corn starch slurry.

I hate white sugar with an unfair ideological passion, so I'm making the glaze out of water and honey.

And red food coloring... and when it starts boiling, add in the corn starch slurry. Goopy globs of goodness!

Except it wasn't enough, so I doubled the amount of honeywater (you could use sugar water) and then did another batch of corn starch slurry. And more red food coloring of course. However, it tasted boring and just sweet so I added lime juice. Too much lime juice, it turns out. You could taste it in the final pie. But just a splash of lemon or lime juice would do you well.

Glazing the sick lame strawberries to make you forget that it's December and our capitalist pig supply and demand selves carted them up here from Mexico.

The chocolate pies come out looking all lovely. I baked the two dough hearts in with them, glazing the top with honey and sugar.

I used the rest of the bag of semisweet chocolate chips for a drizzly garnish, but I was in a super hurry by now - the talent show started in 20 minutes - and it came out ugly and gloppy. Were I to do it again I would have been more meticulous.

Strawberry Chocolate Oasis pie! Hinted to in a movie, invented by me (with a little help from my friend France) and apart from the too-strong lime and the sucky sucky strawberries, pretty dang delicious. Also, at least one boy there said I was the best talent of the night. I like how you can trick boys' senses of artistry with a little butter and fruit.

When I got home, I used the third crust and the rest of the chocolate filling to make just a chocolate pie on its own:

Look at the bottomside of a beautiful, beautiful pâte brisée!

The texture is surprisingly fluffy. I would have preferred denser and richer, but that's personal taste. I like my men that way too, you know - smooth, rich and European.

Chocolate pie = definitely added to the repertoire.

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