I love Jason Segel.
He meets most of my criteria for ideal man: tall, not overly thin nor athletic and oh-so-funny. (Or, as my friend once described as “tall, broad, goofy guy.”) You can have your pretty boys, girls. Give me a man who can make me laugh and I’m a smitten kitten.
I know this isn’t really the place for romantic confessions, you know, being a food blog and all. But, sigh. And, I swear, it’s relevant.
I missed the first season of How I Met Your Mother because I couldn’t figure out when the program was on. Some kind friends lent me it and season 2 on DVD. I’m not admitting anything but I may have watched them both in just a handful of days. That started a lovely tradition of discussing each episode on Tuesdays over email and getting together for season finales.
My crush on Segal started there and has continued through Forgetting Sarah Marshall and then I Love You, Man. (Even though his hair in I Love You, Man was beyond ridiculous and, unfortunately, spilled over into HIMYM because I guess they were filming bits of both at the same time.) (And, may I add, my love of him has absolutely nothing to do with the full-nude scene in Sarah Marshall. Ahem.)
This year, my friends and I set up the date as soon as we knew when the finale was going to air. I, naturally, offered to bring dessert. But, while Dawn and I are fans of anything lemon, Chris is less than interested in citrus desserts. For him, it’s chocolate all the way. I’m not against broadening my horizons away from lemon and I felt like it would be nice to cater to someone else’s tastes for once. Plus, c’mon, chocolate pie? I’m still all over that.
I thought this would be great with a straight-up pie crust and tried that vodka pastry recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that set the baking world on fire. (It’s a wet, easily workable dough that uses part water and part vodka. The vodka evaporates leaving this stunningly flaky crust without all the fuss.) Yes, it was easy to work with and I think it would have been fantastic if I hadn’t rolled it so thin that the bottom got a little too brown. Not burnt, but brown enough that I just couldn’t bring myself to serve it to friends. Yes, I’m a perfectionist.
So, I then went with a graham cracker crust because
a) I had the ingredients
b) It’s a lot harder to screw up.
I loved photographing how this came together, especially the part where I got to mix in the chopped chocolate to the custard base, watching the cream and brown swirl together.
The only hitch in all of it was this thing seriously took forever to set. That’s why there are no photos of slices because it was still setting while I was driving over to my friends’ house. I had set the tart tin on a baking sheet on the floor of my car and was freaking out every time I had to come to a stop as I watched the chocolate goo ripple slightly. We immediately put it in the fridge when I got there and let it chill for another three hours. It was perfect when it came time to cut in, but it was far too late for pictures. And, frankly, we just wanted to eat the damn thing.
It was so good.
Richly chocolate, smooth without being gloppy. It slumped ever-so-slightly in that perfectly decadent way. As if it was so full of goodness that it couldn’t contain itself.
I have it on good authority (OK, he was dimed out by his wife) that another slice or two went down after I left before bed time.
Yeah, it’s that good.
French Silk Pie
- 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 cups whole milk
- 5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for dusting OR a small chunk of dark chocolate, shaved with a grater or rasp
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together crumbs, butter and sugar and press into 9″ pie plate or tart tin. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt until well combined. Add milk in a stream, while still whisking. Over medium heat, while still whisking, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, still whisking, for about a minute. The filling will be quite thick.
Sieve the filling into a large bowl. Whisk in chocolates, butter and vanilla and stir until everything is melted together and fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the custard mixture to keep it from forming a skin. Let cool completely, about two hours.
Spoon filling into cooled crust and then chill all together in the fridge for at least six hours. (Mine took more like eight.)
When ready to serve, beat whipping cream with sugar until it hold soft peaks. Cover pie and dust with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.