We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chocolate Silk French Pie (Gluten-Free)

by Michelle

   Chocolate, daffodils and iris are just a few of my favorite things. Timing is everything and this year I am fortunate that the three are together for Easter. The iris patch in my backyard keeps expanding year after year as the bulbs spread miraculously in the inhospitable clay soil of the desert. I cringe as the summer heat descimates the leaves and am ultimately relieved when the mild winter temperatures resuscitates the plants. My devotion is rewarded with the onset of soaring stems and then the furl of gorgeous purple blooms. Like a Phoenix they rise from the earth and for a short time display their vibrant rainbow colors only to wither and die to wait for resurrection once again. The perfect metaphor for Easter!

This is a favorite poem from my childhood:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
     And dances with the daffodils.       

                                                            ~William Wordsworth

Quickly chilling the hot cooked eggs in an ice water bath.

   This is one thing I know for sure... one is never too old to color Easter eggs. Our dear friends that moved to Colorado last year were here in the Old Pueblo visiting friends and family last week over spring break. I thought it would be fun for the girls to decorate Easter eggs and the three of them managed to decorate all thirty eggs that I hard boiled for the occasion. This is my Victorian inspired Easter table decorated with vintage lace, bunnies, crystal baskets and festive eggs.

   Chocolate pie is a favorite of mine. Really, chocolate anything is alright with me. If you feel the same, I think you'll like this pie as much as I do.

Chocolate French Silk Chocolate Pie (Gluten-Free)

   This recipe is adapted from Cook's Country Magazine. My simple changes were to swap a butter pie crust for the gluten-free chocolate pie crust. Also, I used a deep dish pie plate so I made one and a half times the chocolate filling. I'm not sure it was a great idea because the filling is rich, almost truffle like, so a little slice will suffice even for the most avid chocolate lover. However, the whole gargantuan pie was a thing of beauty.


For pie crust:
Traditional all butter pie crust
Gluten-free pie crust - I made a chocolate gluten-free crust, recipe at the bottom of the post
Chocolate Filling:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 extra large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsps water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
8 Tbsps (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened

Prepared whipped cream or pass the Isi Whip-It!
Fresh raspberries

Electric Hand Mixer or Standing Mixer
9-inch pie plate, I used a deep dish

1. Whichever pie crust you choose to use, blind bake the pie crust in accordance with the recipes directions. Once baked, set aside to cool to room temperature. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a gluten-free chocolate crust recipe.

2. The easiest method to melt the chocolate is in the microwave. Chop the chocolate into bite size pieces. Using a chef's knife, I chop the chocolate directly on the paper wrapper which makes it easy to transfer the chocolate to a heavy glass bowl, such as a 4-cup Pyrex. Microwave the chocolate in intervals of 15 to 20 seconds and stir thoroughly after each time sequence. Chocolate burns easily so be careful. Using this method will melt the chocolate in just a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate over simmering water in a double-boiler.

3. In a medium bowl, whip the cream with a hand-held mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks, 1 to 4 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
4. Combine the eggs, sugar and water in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled with 1/2-inch barely simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the egg mixture is thickend and registers 160 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Off the heat, continue to beat the egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes longer.
Michelle's note: Next time I will transfer the egg mixture to my KitchenAid for the final mixing. Those last 8 minutes of beating felt like an eternity to me and I'm not a kitchen whimp... plus, if you have not read ahead to step 5, let me forewarn you that there is even more mixing going on... so, you make the call whether you want to clean one bowl or two!
5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Transfer the filling into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours. Serve with a side of whipped cream. For a classic pairing, fresh raspberries would also be tasty.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Pie Crust

   Please use your favorite Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix in this recipe. If it doesn't include xanthum gum or guar gum, add one teaspoon to your flour mix. For the cocoa powder I used Valrhona. I made a little extra flour mix so I had a darker colored flour to dust the disc for rolling out between sheets of plastic wrap.
   After I rolled out the dough, a pizza peel assisted with easily moving the softed rolled dough from the counter to the refrigerator to chill, and then reverse the process from the refrigerator back to the counter. I stripped off the top plastic wrap, slid my hand under the bottom, flipped the dough into the pie plate and then removed and discarded the final piece of plastic wrap. As you can see, I could have (and should) rolled out the dough thinner than you see here. Gluten-free doughs don't seem as forgiving as traditional crusts, but with patience I was able to form and pleat the dough into an attractive crust. 
   I adapted this recipe from the blog Simply...Gluten-Free. Along with adding baking powder, I have increased the portions to accomodate a 9-1/2-inch deep dish pie plate or standard 10-inch pie plate. After you trim the crust to size according to the size of your pie plate, a great way to not waste leftover dough is to make cookies, which can be eaten separately or used to decorate the pie.

12 Tbsps very cold unsalted butter or palm oil
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup ice water
1-1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
2 Tbsps cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsps granulated sugar

1. In the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade, add the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Combine the ingredients, by pulsing 5 or 6 times. Add the butter, and again, pulse the ingredients 5 or 6 times, and then for 3-5 seconds, until there are small lumps of butter throughout the flour, about the size of peas, or a little larger.

2. Through the feed-tube, with the machine running, quickly add 1/4 cup ice water. After about 20-30 seconds, the dough should clump together. If not, add additional water one tablespoon at a time until the dough presses together when pinched.

3. Put the dough, and any little scraps on the bottom of a bowl together - pressing into a ball. Press the ball into a disc, about 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick. At this point, you can put the disc on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. The dough, wrapped well, also freezes well for 30-45 days (defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using).

4. When ready to use, dust each side of the dough with a little flour, then roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Rotating the disc, by quarter turns, as you roll to maintain an even circle.

5. Transfer the dough to a deep-dish 9-inch or 10-inch pie plate. Press the dough lightly into place along bottom and sides. Using a knife, trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overlap*. Fold the dough in half to create a double thickness along the rim of the pie plate. Push lightly along the outer edge, leaving room for the dough to shrink on the rim during baking. Pinch the dough along the rim to create a decorative edge. Because this is an all-butter crust, it must be very cold going into the oven. Refrigerate the prepared shell for 30-60 minutes, or overnight lightly covered with plastic wrap.
6. If a recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, which is also referred to as blind baking, freeze the prepared crust for 30 minutes and then bake according to the recipe's instructions. Most of the time, I make my crusts the day before, so in lieu of freezing, I place the crust in the refrigerator to chill overnight and bake in the morning. When ready to bake, place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil in the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust. Fill the pie with pie weights. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper (or foil) and "dock" the crust, which means, using a fork, prick the crust (so it won't bubble during the final baking). Return to the oven and bake until done, about 10 minutes. Let your eyes and nose be your guide. Let pie crust cool to room temperature before filling.

*Discard pie scraps, or make Pie Crust Cookies.

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