A diner tasting this pie on July 4th for the first time remarked, “It’s like Mi-Cuit”…referring to a French dessert that is, in texture, somewhere between a warm cake and a hot pudding, and is the better part of both. (You may find a recipe for it here at the diplomatickitchen.) It is not that this American pie, made from an old and very traditional American recipe, is the U.S. equivalent of the French Mi-cuit, but that the pie’s filling hovers between a solid and a thick, rich liquid chocolate, just as it does with Mi-cuit.
This pie is served for dessert in the July 4th dinner menu: A July 4th Dinner Under the Desert Sky. A triple-layer frosted cake is certainly very “American”, but for rounding off a dinner American-style, “pie”, as someone once succinctly if not poetically put it, “is the thing”.
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Timing Note: The pie is best when allowed to cool at room temperature and then chilled for at least an hour. If made a day in advance, it will be every bit as good the next day when it is served.
- a chilled, unbaked 9-inch Pastry Shell: See Part II below for the recipe.
- 1/2 cup of Butter
- 3 1-ounce squares of Unsweetened Chocolate
- 4 Eggs
- 3 Tablespoons of Light Corn Syrup
- 1 and 1/2 cups of Granulated White Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- Optional decoration: Fresh dark cherries…if the pie is made in the summer, as it is here for a July 4th dinner, these cherries are in season…in some parts of the world.
- a Double Boiler or homemade Bain-Marie: The Bain-Marie is made out of a pot partially filled with water and a heatproof bowl that will fit in the rim of the pot without touching its bottom. Ideally, the water in the pot should not touch the bottom of the bowl…but if it does…it will be alright.
- a large Mixing Bowl and hand-held Electric Mixer or a standing Mixer and Bowl
2. In the top of the double boiler or bowl of the Bain-Marie, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring. Cool slightly while you mix the other ingredients together.
3. Beat the eggs in the mixing bowl.
4. Add the syrup, sugar, salt and vanilla to the eggs and beat until the mixture is smooth.
5. Add the chocolate mixture and beat again until all is blended well together.
6. Pour the filling into the chilled pastry shell. Bake at 400 F. for 5 minutes.
7. Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes more. Remove the pie from the oven. The filling will not be completely firm; it will move a little if the pie is gently shaken.
8. Cool the pie at room temperature. Transfer it to the refrigerator and chill it, covered loosely with a sheet of waxed paper, for at least an hour before cutting and serving. Fresh dark cherries look pretty on the plate with a slice of this pie.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (6 and 1/2 ounces) unbleached White Flour, plus some more Flour to sprinkle on the pastry board when rolling out the dough for the crust
- 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons or 2 ounces) of cold Butter, cut in pieces
- 1/4 cup (1 and 1/2 ounces) Vegetable Shortening
- 1 teaspoon of Cider Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons (1 and 1/2 ounces) Ice Water
Equipment for the crust:
- a Food Processor fitted with the Rotary Chopping Blade is not essential but is a very convenient way to mix the pastry; it may alternatively be mixed by hand.
- a Pastry Board and Rolling Pin
- a 9-inch Pie Plate
1. Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder and pour them in the bowl of the processor, fitted with the rotary chopping blade. Add the butter, cut into bits, and the shortening. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour by pressing the Pulse button on and off until the mixture is well combined. (The butter and shortening may instead be worked into the flour by hand until it has a crumbly texture.)
2. Mix together the ice water and cider vinegar. Turn on the processor and, with one hand pressed firmly down on the lid of the processor, pour the liquid slowly through the tube. (Pressing down on the lid prevents any jerky motion of the processor as the dough forms.) As soon as the mixture pulls away from the sides of the processor and forms a cohesive mass, turn off the machine. (If making the pastry by hand, the liquid may be added gradually while stirring with a fork or wooden spoon. As soon as the dough becomes cohesive, stop mixing it.)
3, Flour your hands a little. If the dough is made in the processor, remove the blade, scraping off any pastry that clings to it. Collect the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a floured pastry board. Sprinkle it with a little flour.
4. The dough rolls out well without first chilling it. But if you do not wish to roll the dough out right away, wrap it in waxed paper and refrigerate it. Chilled pastry made with a combination of vegetable shortening and butter will need to rest for about 5 minutes at room temperature before rolling it out in order for the butter to warm up a bit.
5. Roll out the dough to a size large enough to fit into the pan with a small overhang. Mold the pastry gently down and around the sides of the pie plate to fit snugly. Trim the rim of the pastry even with the outer rim of the pie plate.
6. Form a decorative rim for the pie crust from the pastry scraps. The each piece of overhang trimmed from the crust has a rounded edge. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut 1/2-inch strips from the rounded edges of these pastry scraps:
7. Moisten the rim of the pastry in the pan with a little water. Pick up a 1/2-inch strip, press one end of it to the moistened pastry. Hold down the end of the pastry with the finger of your left hand (if you are right-handed) and twist the strip with you right hand:
8. When the first strip has been twisted to its end, join a second strip to it and continue twisting it around the rim of the crust. Continue adding and twisting strips of pastry until the entire rim is encircled with a twisted edge and press the twisted pastry down at intervals to fix it to the rim of the crust. Refrigerate the crust while making the pie filling:
A Note: Devastating Chocolate Fudge Pie is the Dessert for the Dinner Menu: A July 4th Dinner Under the Desert Sky. The recipe is adapted from one in Beth Tartan’s excellent The Good Old Days Cookbook (1971). The pie retains the name it bears in Mrs. Tartan’s book.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.