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Chocolate Cream Pie

Another masterpiece from Simon Stevenson, pastry chef extraordinaire, this pie is bursting with flavor and creamy smooth.  Simon will insist that only the finest imported chocolates be used, and he is correct that the chocolate makes a big difference, but for most of us, domestic chocolate is suitable and far more affordable.  This makes enough filling for a 9" pie plate.

1 pre-baked    pie shell
6 ounces    dark, semi-sweet chocolate
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups    whole milk
2 large    eggs, plus
2 large    egg yolks (ayup - yolks only)
1 Cup    granulated sugar
3 tablespoons    unsalted butter
1 tablespoons    vanilla extract
Optional for Whipped Cream  
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

If the chocolate is in large pieces chop it finely and set aside.  Make a slurry with the cornstarch and about cup of the milk.  Completely beat all the eggs into the cornstarch mixture.  Add 5 tablespoons of the sugar to the slurry and combine thoroughly.  Note that the mixture should be in a bowl large enough to hold the remaining milk as it will be added later.

Place the remaining milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow boiling to subside (just a few seconds).  Add the hot sugar-milk to the cornstarch mixture while whisking constantly.  Once completely combined return to the saucepan and bring to a second boil also whisking constantly.

Once the mixture comes to a second boil continue whisking constantly for two minutes.  The additional time allows the cornstarch to break down and lose it's gritty texture.

Remove from the heat.  Add the butter and vanilla (note that the vanilla is used as a flavor enhancer for the chocolate and actually brings out it's flavor) and mix until the butter is completely melted.

Add the chocolate and stir until melted.  Pour into the prepared pie shell and allow to cool.

  Optionally top the cooled chocolate pie with whipped cream.  Place metal bowl and metal whisk into freezer for 15 minutes.  Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream.  Whisk  just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Spread over the pie.

Notes:   A word on the above procedure is in order (Simon actually screamed the "words" while instructing his pupils).  It cannot be stressed enough the importance of:

1. pouring the hot milk into the cornstarch sugar not the other way around, and
2. constant agitation where whisking is called for.

Doing otherwise presents a danger of the eggs setting up, becoming scrambled, by the hot milk.  So whisk until your arm hurts :^)


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