Thursday, November 19, 2009

Name a Blog, get a Chocolate Cream Pie

When my wife suggested I start a food blog, I agreed on the one condition that I could come-up with a name that I was happy with.  I leveraged my friends to help me brainstorm, and sweetened the deal  by offering to make a chocolate cream pie for whomever suggested the name that was ultimately selected.

Out of 80 suggestions, some were pretty good; others were like these:
  • Todd's Tasty Tidbits
  • The Floppy Spatula
  • Flaming Flavor Fortress
  • Flavor Pirate

Floppy Spatula … Flavor Pirate? C’mon, people. This is meant to be a serious food blog.

(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, issue #50)

16 Oreo cookies (with filling), broken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2-1/2 cups half-and-half
pinch salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 large egg yolks, room temperature (1)
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
6 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (2)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (3)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredient Notes
(1) Remove the chalazae – that nasty, white stringy bit hanging off the yolk. Yes, you'll have to handle the yolk to do this. Yes, it's important. That thing will toughen when cooked and make the filling lumpy.
(2) Hershey’s Special Dark works great and is easy to find.
(3) Hershey’s unsweetened is fine; Baker’s is horrid.

Do This
1. Make the crust: In a food processor, grind the Oreos into fine crumbs. Alternately, put the cookies in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin (then remind yourself to go get a food processor for next time). Transfer crumbs into a bowl, drizzle with butter and mix thoroughly. Pour into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Using a sheet of plastic wrap over the crumbs, smooth them into place and up the sides of the pie plate. Pack them into place with your hands, and use the bottom of a spoon to smooth them into the curves and up the sides of the plate. Refrigerate for 20 minutes while pre-heating oven to 350-degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

2. Make the filling: Bring half-and-half, salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Combine remaining sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix into egg yolks. (Do this step shortly before half-and-half boils. Given enough time, sugar will react with raw egg yolks and mess-up the texture of the finished cream.) Whisk for a minute or two to combine, dissolve sugar and thicken. When half-and-half reaches a full-simmer, drizzle 1/2 cup of hot half-and-half into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly, to temper. Then, whisk tempered egg yolk mixture into simmering half-and-half. Whisking constantly, return mixture to simmer as it thickens. When a few bubbles break the surface, remove from heat.

3. Immediately whisk in cold butter pieces until incorporated, then add chocolates and whisk until combined. Scrape pan sides and bottom with a spatula to fully incorporate ingredients. Stir in vanilla. Immediately pour filling into cooled crust. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

4. Topping: Just before serving, combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and whip to the soft peak stage. Remove plastic wrap from pie and spread whipped cream on top. Devour.

My friend's pie, ready for transport:


  1. oh my my that was like my posts LOL

  2. Mr. Flavorgeek, 2 of those rejects were my suggestions....careful or you may well be scrapping pie off your face....

  3. While I'm sure the chocolate cream pie is delicious, what I'm most excited about is I learned a new word . . . "chalazae"!!! "Either
    of the spiral bands of dense albumen extending from the yolk toward the lining membrane at each end of a bird's egg." You are so smart, Todd.

  4. You know, I never really noticed chalazae before I read this recipe in CI. Now I have nightmares about them.

  5. Todd - I can't thank you enough for 1)being a foodie like me 2)having a great sense of humor 3)taking your wife's advice and starting a blog 4)taking pity on me and making me the BEST DAMN CHOCOLATE PIE EVER TO EXIST IN THE UNIVERSE!!!! I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me (yes, hips mostly, but worth every unbelievable, mouthwatering bite). I did share with friends, (but don't think I didn't want it all to myself!!). Thanks Man, I'm a FlavorGeek fan for life!! - Mary