Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chocolate Cream Pie

Confession: sometimes when I’m watching a movie or television show I become obsessed with making and eating whatever I see on the screen. It’s like food porn.

Yesterday I was home sick with a cold and it was raining, so I turned on Julie & Julia and cuddled up on the couch with Brad. He ended up getting bored--no surprise--but not before I saw the chocolate cream pie Julie makes the night she decides to start a food blog.

The weather improved in the late afternoon enough to walk to the market with both kids and pick up some Green & Black's 85% cacao chocolate, shortbread cookies and heavy cream. Brad jumped in puddles and collected sticks along the way. After a quick stop at the park, I came home and whipped up what has to be my newest, new favorite dessert: chocolate cream pie.

Gluten-free Crust
16 ounces gluten-free shortbread cookies
2 tablespoons butter or vegan buttery spread
Sea salt
Light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whiz the shortbread cookies in a food processor until they resemble coarse sand. Drizzle in the butter or spread and pulse again. Give the mixture a taste and then add sea salt and or brown sugar to taste. I prefer a minimally-sweetened crust with texture and a hint of the sea salt to offset the creamy sweetness of the chocolate filling. Press into a pie dish or spring form pan and bake for about 10 minutes.

Chocolate Filling
1 cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3-4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, sift together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk and egg yolks, until everything is well blended. In a separate Turn the heat on to medium and whisk constantly. As it heats up, scrape in the melted chocolate. It will not blend completely until near the end of the cooking process.
Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and mixture begins to thicken. It should easily coat the back of a spoon but still be pourable. Be careful not to overcook or the whole thing will split.

Or Vegan Chocolate Filling

1 block silken tofu
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons strong coffee
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Melt the buttery spread and chocolate chips in a double-boiler, stirring until blended.

In a blender, cream the tofu, vanilla, coffee, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and blend well.

Pour either the chocolate custard or vegan filling into the crust. Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving. 

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