Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chocolate Custard Pie with the Easiest Pastry Crust Ever


This is one of the recipes that reinvigorated my love affaire with baking. I'd been away at university for the last four years, and my kitchen skills had suffered. But I'd been talking with some American friends, and they were waxing lyrical about how fantastic sweet pies were. Here in New Zealand, pie means pastry with meat in it, so the concept was unusual but sounded yummy. As I am a chocolate lover, I decided that was to be my flavour and set out to find a suitable recipe. It scared me; they all seemed so fancy and custard filled. What if the custard didn't cook, or it curdled, or... there was a long list. But really? It was so much easier than I'd anticipated and my confidence was boosted immeasurably.

This pie is delicious, and made with milk chocolate, so the chocolate flavour is not really overwhelming. Which is to say, you won't feel like you're going to die of chocolate over load by the end of it. If, however, you do desire such a delicious fate, go ahead and use a chocolate with a high cocoa percentage.

It was my father's birthday today (52!), so I thought we should have a yummy dessert, which is why this delicious recipe is making it's debut tonight.

The dessert section of my much loved recipe book.

Easiest Pastry Crust Ever:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
100g salted, melted butter*
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk

*I always use salted butter in my cooking; unless I stipulate otherwise, assume it's salted.

1. In a bowl combine everything. Make sure that your melted butter does not touch the yolk initially. You don't want a cooked yolk.

2. With an electric mixer, combine.

3. You can kneed and roll this pastry if you like, but I never, ever do. Instead I press it into a flan tin (one where the bottom lifts out if pushed from underneath). Just keep adding little handfuls of the pastry mix and press until the whole tin is covered (sides included). Make sure your tin is well buttered.

See the loose stuff around the edge? Just press it down, so that it looks like the stuff in the middle.

Buttered up.

5. Cover in baking paper and then fill with baking beans* to weight down. Bake for ten minutes at 180 degrees celcius, just long enough to partially bake the crust, but not long enough so that it will burn when you cook the custard filling.

Here we are all ready to go into the oven. It'll look pretty much the same when it comes out.

With the beans. I always like to make sure the baking paper covers the edges, as they are the most likely to burn/cook faster.

6. Remove and let cool for ten minutes, then fill with custard and pop back in the oven for 10 - 20 minutes.

* I use haricott beans. Rice works, too. Anything that you don't ever want to cook again, and will not burn when in the oven.

Chocolate Custard Filling:

270g milk chocolate
375mls heavy cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

1. In a saucepan slowly heat the cream and chocolate. Do not let it boil; you really just want enough heat to melt the chocolate, so that you can combine the two.

2. Set aside to cool to tepid (and make your crust).

3. Once the mixture is tepid, whisk in your eggs and egg yolk. Now you can pour the mixture into your prepared pastry case, and bake for 10-20 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. In order to tell if the custard has set, touch it gently. If you feel some resistence to your touch, it is ready. There should be some jiggle to it, but nothing that would indicate that it is still liquidly inside. It will not set to solid.

All cooked up and cooling.

4. When cooled, dust with lots of icing sugar and serve with a dollop of cream


Does that not look amazing? It's all creamy and velvet soft and yummy in there.

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