Posted on Friday, 1st April 2011 by Grace Massa Langlois
Back when I was in high school I worked for a small diner, Town Lunch, and our two most popular desserts were Chocolate Cream Pie and Cherry Cream Pie. Believe it or not my favourite was the Cherry Cream Pie (I may be a chocoholic but a good Cherry Cream Pie is hard to come by). We purchased them from a local bakery, Chapman’s, which has since closed. What I wouldn’t do for a slice of that Cherry Cream Pie.
When I first started my “Sweet” journey I researched online for months hoping to find a recipe for that Cherry Cream Pie but it was to no avail and I’d since given up. I’ve been reminiscing a lot about diner desserts lately because Liana is planning a dinner for friends. She wanted to make a Jell-O dessert because they’d been discussing how long it had been since any of them enjoyed Jell-O for dessert.
It got me to thinking about the diner; I can still picture it. There were four-seater booths along a huge window and more booths in the centre. And, of course, we had the typical long counter with the metal swivel stools covered in a bright red vinyl. We had the big glass display case with the sliding doors where we showcased our desserts. Directly next to it was the milkshake machine and across from the display case was our ice cream chest. The walls were covered in the typical diner memorabilia.
And I can’t forget to tell you about the most important feature, the jukebox. It played our favourite music endlessly throughout the day. I enjoyed all the chatter and the hustle and bustle of the diner. It was small but boy we were busy, all the time! Jimmy served the best breakfast (all day) and people would come for miles for his 3 eggs, thinly sliced home fries with bacon or sausage.
We served the standard diner dessert fare, Jell-O, rice pudding (Jimmy’s Signature Dessert – the best!), fruit pies, sundaes and of course, cream pies. Do you remember how the diners served Jell-O back then? Cut in cubes and served in the small-stemmed glass dessert dishes and it was always topped with whipped cream. Not freshly whipped, but rather the ready-made cream in the aerosol can. We weren’t concerned about presentation back then, it was a quick squirt and then the Jell-O was served.
It’s funny how certain foods can create long lasting memories and when you least expect it, they take you back in time.
I wanted to contribute to Liana’s dinner with a blast from the past. So back online I went hoping to spot a Cherry Cream Pie recipe that would do Chapman’s proud. Yet again, no such luck. I guess that search will have to continue, but I did find a recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie.
Sometimes that’s the way life goes. You have to let go in order to receive what you’re looking for. But as long as you’re open, you’ll be surprised with lots of other treasures…like chocolate cream pies.
Chocolate Cream Pies
(Recipe adapted from Epicurious)
Makes 4 10-cm X 4.45-cm (4-inch X 1¾-inch) pies
- Chocolate Crust
- Chocolate Filling
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 156 g (1 1/3-cup) chocolate wafer crumbs (about 26 cookies)
- Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing
- 56¼ g (¼ cup) caster (superfine granules) sugar
- 86 g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 175° C (350° F). Grease individual springform tins, set aside
- Place chocolate wafers in the bowl of a food processor. Process wafers until finely ground.
- Add the sugar, and process just to combine.
- Add the melted butter and pulse to moisten.
- Divide chocolate wafer mixture evenly between springform tins (about 3 tablespoons per tin). Pat wafer mixture into each pan, pressing firmly into bottom and about 3.8-cm (1½-inch) up the sides of each pan.
- Place the individual springform pans on a cookie sheet. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking, for 10 minutes.
- Transfer individual springform pans to a wire rack. Cool completely before filling.
- 37½ g (¼ cup) cornstarch, sifted
- 3 cups whole milk, divided
- 146 g (5 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
- 56 g (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 150 g (2/3 cup) caster (superfine granules) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 28¼ g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in ½-cup of milk.
- Place the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate in a large bowl, set aside.
- In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, salt, and egg yolks until well combined.
- Gradually, in a steady stream, whisking constantly, begin by adding the 2½ cups milk followed by the cornstarch mixture to the egg mixture (make sure there are no lumps).
- Set the saucepan over medium heat; bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, for 1 minute (filling will be thick).
- Pour the custard mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.
- Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium-sized bowl and strain the chocolate custard.
- Add the softened butter one-piece at-a-time, whisking well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate filling (to prevent a skin from forming); refrigerate until set about 3 hours.
- Spoon filling into crusts. Gently tap bottom of each tin on counter to release any air bubbles. Cover loosely and chill pies for at least 6 hours.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Prepare sweetened whipped cream just before serving until it just holds stiff peaks.
Assembling Chocolate Cream Pies
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Milk chocolate, grated or curls, to garnish, optional
- Just before serving, remove pies from springform tins.
- Spoon or pipe filling on top of pie.
- If using chocolate, dust with grated chocolate or garnish with chocolate curls.
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Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, baked pudding, cake, cakes, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate dessert, dessert, desserts, food, food photography, food photos, individual dessert, individual desserts, mini cakes, pudding, small cakes
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Eggs, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Recipes