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.