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Let Them Eat Pie

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Everyone in a family gets a job. I’m not talking about your occupation (though hopefully you have one of those), but everyone in a family contributes in some way. Maybe you’re the one who is really good with scheduling or making people laugh or maybe you’re a great listener. In my family, aside from being sardonic and drinking all the wine, I am known as the baker.

Family baker is not an easy job. Not because my family is hard to please, but because I am. Don’t get me wrong. Baking for my family is a real joy. I long for the noises and faces that people make when they’ve tasted a dessert they love. Please tell me that I’m not the only person with a family full of noisy and opinionated eaters. Being my family’s baker is hard because I’m always trying to outdo myself.

If the kitchen has a “Golden Rule” it is this: “Thou shalt not try out a new recipe for a big family meal.” I might want to go ahead and write that on my forehead. Why? Because that’s exactly what I do almost every time I am asked to bake for my family. Trying something new, while exciting, is super duper stressful. The pressure to please is too great – so I can’t stop myself.

I was invited to bake for our family’s Yom Kippur break-the-fast. I thought long and hard about what to make. I consulted the cooking section at Barnes & Noble and scoured the Internet. See? I take the job very seriously.

I wanted to do something dairy-centered, since that’s apparently kinder to the digestive system after fasting. What I finally decided on was chocolate cream pie. Who doesn’t love pie and/or chocolate? Not anyone I want to know. You simply must try the recipe below. I know the instructions look scary, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.

Let Them Eat Pie photo

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Cream Pie 
(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cup milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61%)
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until chocolate melts.

Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Whisk milk-sugar mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, 4 to 5 minutes total (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).

Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbles appear in the middle, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Let custard cool about 10 minutes, whisking 2 or 3 times.

Pour custard into chocolate piecrust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

For the sweetened whipped cream topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

With an electric mixer on med-high, whisk cream just until soft peaks form. Add confectioner’s sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over custard.

You must be asking yourself…what about the piecrust. Girl, don’t be silly. Buy yourself an Oreo piecrust at Jewel or Target or wherever it is that you shop. You’ve got better things to do with your time.

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