Of course you have to serve chocolate on Valentine’s Day. It is practically a law, isn’t it? There are people who don’t particularly like chocolate, so I expect they can find something in the vanilla, lemon, berry or spice categories for desert Friday while the rest of us indulge in chocolate confections.
This recipe came to me from an island neighbor, Sue Stafford, who brought it to a holiday potluck. I was so impressed by how firm the pie remained when cut. It sagged very little where other chocolate pies I have made tend to be a little soft, more like pudding than mousse. All the butter in it, I suspect, is the reason it sets up so beautifully. As the butter firms up, it keeps the powdered sugar and egg in line, and the melted chocolate folded in also stiffens up and adds structure.
Sue was pleased to have discovered a great way to stabilize the whipped cream, and the directions for making it are included below. This is handy for potlucks or other times when you want whipped cream that won’t begin to soften or separate before it is served. I preferred, this time, to whip the cream separately with a little more chocolate and dollop it on. If you want to make chocolate whipped cream, proceed as you would for regular whipped cream but add a tablespoon each of sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder, and beat until firm.
For the filling, it is a really good idea to have the butter fairly soft, but not melted, when you cream it together with the powdered sugar so it smooths out nicely. Using your mixer is a good plan, and as you add the chocolate and beaten eggs, make sure you beat it all very well to keep it creamy. The melted chocolate has to be cool but still liquid, so test it from time to time to make sure it is liquid and beat well as you add it.
I used salted butter, by the way, so the chocolate would be blended with a bit of salt which improves its flavor. I am not as fond as many are of chocolate cookies or bon bons sprinkled with little grains of sea salt so salt incorporated in the mix suits my taste.
For no particular reason, I had never used chocolate graham crackers until now, but in this recipe the crumb crust made with them is just the ticket, and I liked it better than a chocolate cookie crust. The graham crackers have quite a bit of sugar in them, so less powdered sugar is better.
Not all of us will have a sweetheart to share this pie with — actually it is so rich you could share it with lots of friends or plan on having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day, too. Find a few pals you like, get together, carve it up and pass it around. It is irresistibly delicious.
Chocolate Pie with Chocolate Crust
Yields 1 9-inch pie
4 ounces baker’s chocolate, unsweetened
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pack, 9 double crackers, chocolate graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
¼ to 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
6 ounces of butter, melted
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sugar to taste
1. Heat an oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put the cracker crumbs and sugar into a bowl and mix well. Add the melted butter gradually stirring to combine.
3. Press crumbs and butter mixture over the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and up the sides.
4. Place into the heated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
5. For the filling, melt the chocolate and let it cool but stay liquid.
6. Cream the butter and sugar, and beat vigorously. Add the chocolate and vanilla to the butter mixture. Beat well. Add the eggs and beat well after the additions.
7. Pour into the pie shell and chill for 2-3 hours.
8. Whisk together the cup of heavy cream and the tablespoon of cornstarch in a heavy bottom saucepan. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil, stirring constantly.
9. Once it comes to a boil, boil 30 seconds longer.
10. Chill the mixture, which will be thick.
11. Once chilled, whip the heavy cream mixture until it is thick enough to spread, adding some sugar to sweeten it as you would for regular whipped cream.
12. Spread over the top of the pie. Serve.