So last weekend, my wife and I decided to watch "Julie & Julia" again, which we have enjoyed a few times together and individually. I won't go into a review of a movie that has already been reviewed by just about everyone - mostly favorably.
Julie & Julia is a 2009 movie which intertwined the success of two different American woman. Along the way, they shine on their life lessons which inspired women everywhere. It was directed by Nora Ephron and starred Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell. In the end, the biggest take away is to follow your dreams no matter the obstacles you may be confronted with. I think we can all take page from their stories. WARNING: You are going to be SO hungry while watching this movie!
As I mentioned, this post is not about a review but rather a delicious and sometimes overlooked scene in the beginning of the movie of a Chocolate Cream Pie. It looked creamy and fulfilling for someone with a sweet tooth like my wife, so I started to search for the recipe. While I did find some variations incorporating JELL-O pudding mix, I decided to try other more reputable sources like Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook for the foundation of the recipe (Yes I know I should have just busted out the legendary Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking).
The first part of this recipe everyone seems to take a shortcut on (not judging) is the crust. I have my own thoughts on store purchased crusts vs making it yourself, Its such an easy process, but as Julia mentions in her TV show with Jacques Pepin, "Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home" , "A lot of people aren't doing that anymore (reference to baking your own pâte à choux) mainly because they don't know how I think, its not part of the quick quick cooking that a lot of people like".
I have been there, I have purchased those ready to go pie crusts, but I never made a crust before. Have you? Well, I can honestly say after making a few now - its the easiest thing since well, Apple Pie!
Back to Martha - I found her basic pâte a brisée (pie crust) in her book and its a very basic but trustworthy crust recipe. Not only does the recipe work, but it may be one the the best crusts I have made consistently.
The crust is flakey but firm in its shape and can stand to being refrigerated for days without losing its "crunch". Its 4 ingredient : all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, salt and water. For legal reasons, I can not copy and paste Martha Stewart's recipe here on my little blog, but I'm advised by "legal counsel" to simply add a link (omit the sugar ingredient, it's not in the book and doesn't need it):
The next step would be to work on the chocolate filling part. I tried to use a variation of Martha Stewart's Coconut Cream Pie, but I ran into some issues with the directions printed. The book has a variation for Chocolate cream, but on the next page - so y ou have to keep flipping back and forth (pain in the arse!) and the ingredient list does not match her instructions - final outcome, a VERY runny pudding. I was very disappointed and upset. So I did what anyone else in this frame of mind would do after watching Julie & Julia, turn to Julia Child! I remember watching another episode of The French Chef with Julia Child and mentioned if a custard recipe was not working after being refrigerated, just re-heat it and add more starch if needed. In my case I did add 1 more egg yolk and an additional tablespoon of cornstarch. the key I think was to re-heat the mixture until I got the typical texture of a custard but sticking to the back of a wooden spoon. In the end the filling recipe was not the Martha Stewart variation since I changed it so I will add to this post since its "mine" but the crust is the link I had given (keep it in your arsenal, its worth it).
All-purpose flour for dusting
1/2 of Martha Stewart's Pâte Brisée to make 1 pie crust
The filling (My recipe)
1 US Grade A Large egg
4 egg yolks
675ml of whole mIlk
100g of castor sugar
45g of cornstarch
¼ fine salt
100g semisweet chocolate grated
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
¼ cup of Monkfruit powdered sugar (it tastes the same less the carbs so why add more to the waist!)
Optional: Chocolate Curls for decorating
Preheat the oven to 190°C, in my case it was the Breville SmartAir Oven Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crust dough to a 12-inch round, a bit less than 1/4 inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim crust to a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Prick dough all over with a fork (this will prevent the crust from rising). Brush rim of dough with beaten egg. Chill pie shell until firm, roughly about 30 minutes.
Line chilled pie shell with a round of parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust just turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights. Return crust to oven, and continue baking until golden all over 15 to 20 minutes more. Place pie shell on a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
Prepare an ice bath; set aside.
In a bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside.
In a saucepan, whisk together whole milk, castor sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.
Whisk 10% of the hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; now whisk this mixture to the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. add all the chocolate into the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and mixed thoroughly. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in center, 2 to 3 minutes
Strain into a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Set in ice bath until completely chilled, 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling can be kept in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)
In the meantime, whip the cream in the bowl of your electric mixer such as a Kitchen Aid, fitted with whisk attachment, combine cream and confectioners' sugar; beat until soft peaks form.
Fill the crust with the chocolate filling, use a piping bag for the whipped cream and optionally spread the chocolate curls.