Monday, March 23, 2015

French Silk Pie

I have a vague food memory from my childhood of going to a restaurant (probably The Chalet somewhere in Oregon) late at night with my family and being able to choose from what seemed like five hundred types of pie. I remember that after painstakingly considering every option, I chose French Silk Pie.  For years after, I would say that was my favorite type of pie, even though I don't think I had it again until working at a tearoom in Indiana.  At that tearoom, the idea of eating that pie made me nauseous (once you know how much butter is in each mouthful, it's a little hard to fathom.)

For Pi(e) Day I wanted to do something with the big block of chocolate I had on my counter from Trader Joes and ended up coming back to this very traditional French Silk Pie recipe on Traditional is not always bad! This is almost like how I remember it, but this nut press-in crust is far tastier than a normal pie crust would be.  I substituted hazelnuts for the pecans since that's what I had on hand, and people raved over the crust!

A few pointers for this pie and similar recipes - chill the crust in the freezer 30 minutes before baking and it will keep its shape. The butter for the filling MUST be at room temperature. Give it the time it needs, don't put it in the microwave but don't try to make it cold. On the other side of things, the melted chocolate must be completely cool to the touch. If not you will end up with a freckled pie instead of it fully incorporating with the butter. DO NOT SKIMP on the egg beating time. Yes the recipe says 5 minutes AFTER EACH EGG.  Do it.  And do not feed this pie to people of risky health (pregnant people, children, elderly) unless you use fully pasteurized eggs.

Jean Webster's French Silk Pie
Recipe credit:


For the Crust
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • Chocolate curls, for serving
  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie plate; set aside. Grind pecans in a food processor, or chop very finely with a knife. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, sugar, and salt. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press firmly into prepared pie plate. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  2. Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add melted chocolate and the vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for five minutes after each addition. Pour filling into cooled pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream, and decorate with chocolate curls. JennyBakes note: Cut in smaller pieces than usual pie. This is rich!

1 comment:

Rosa said...

Love your site and all the recipes!