Thursday, March 25, 2010

You say cookie, I say biscuit, let's call the whole thing off...

If you're anything like me you find recipes from the US a little frustrating. It's like reading a foreign language... 'cornstarch', a 'stick' of butter, 'half and half', 'graham crackers'.... need I go on?? But if you want good pie it's worth the effort to do a little translating. This is a mile high chocolate pie, heaped with heavenly, billowing clouds of whipped cream. These photos really don't do the pie justice. It is so delicious I might just have to marry this pie and have little chocolate pie babies.

To save you the heart ache of muddling through all the Americanisms in this recipe (originally found here), I've taken the liberty of translating it into 'Australian'. I've converted everything into grams and substituted some of the ingredients with products you can actually find at your local supermarket.

Graham Cracker Crust:

140g biscuits (I used Arnotts Marie biscuits)
2 Tbl. sugar
71g salted butter, melted and warm

Chocolate Cream Filling:

113g salted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes and chilled
1 3/4 cups milk

1 3/4 cups cream

150g sugar
38g cornstarch
9 egg yolks
310g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp. instant espresso or coffee (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whipped Cream to Top:

2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbl. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: bittersweet chocolate, to garnish

To Bake Graham Cracker Crust:

Place oven rack in middle position, and preheat oven to 160°.

Roughly break biscuits, then pulverize to a fine powder in a food processor, about 30 seconds. Add sugar, and pulse briefly to combine. Add melted butter through feed tube in a slow, steady stream, pulsing as you go to combine, until mixture resembles the sand where ocean meets beach.

(Alternatively, to make crust by hand, place crackers in a heavy-duty Ziploc and steamroller them with a rolling pin, until they are powder. Pour crumbs into a medium bowl, stir in sugar to combine, and drizzle melted butter over all, stirring and mooshing until mixture resembles wet sand.)

Transfer the crumbs to a 9" pie plate. Spread lightly to distribute, then gently, firmly, press crumbs into bottom and up sides of pie plate, using the bottom of a measuring cup or small ramekin. It will remain very loose; aim for general coverage. The crust will firm up considerably as it bakes. Bake 15-18 minutes, until your kitchen is filled with good smells, and the crust is lightly browned. Cool completely while making the filling.

To Assemble Filling:

Heat the milk and cream in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, until it's steaming and just barely reached a simmer. Remove pan from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar and the corn flour. Add egg yolks, and whisk until smooth. Slowly, steadily, drizzle hot cream-milk into the egg yolk-sugar mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. You are tempering the egg yolks here, to prevent them from scrambling. Return tempered yolk/milk-cream mixture to the large saucepan, and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until bubbles rise to the surface and mixture is very thick, like pudding, 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and to the hot pudding mixture, slowly, in batches, add the 113g cold butter and 310g chopped chocolate, whisking until smooth. Whisk in instant espresso, if using, until smooth. Stir in the 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Set a fine-meshed sieve over a deep bowl, and strain chocolate mixture. Pour pudding into strainer in batches, and press with a spatula to encourage. This is fussy but fast, a few minutes at most, and is key to achieving that sublime creamy texture. You'll see when your done all the inevitable cornstarch lumps and eggy bits left behind in the strainer, which is such a much better place for them than the pie.

Cover filling with plastic wrap, pressing down right to the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

To Assemble Pie:

When filling is firm, remove plastic wrap and stir until smooth. Spoon chilled filling into reserved, cooled crust, forming a dome in the center with a rubber spatula for a more polished look, or piling it high in the middle for a more casual affair.

In a large bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until soft but strong-ish peaks form. Dollop cream on top of filling, as much as you dare, and with a peeler, shave a little additional chocolate over all, if you fancy.


  1. Looks amazing, then so do most of your culinary delights. Do you think you would have time to make one to bring on Sunday? On second thoughts, maybe not, it looks too good to say no to so I'd definitely have to break my diet if that was in front of me. Or....

  2. OMG! When are you inviting me over for a dinner party with pie dessert??