On Wednesday I promised you a recipe for chocolate pie and since I would hate to be called a chocolate tease, today I will come good on my promise. (Update: this should have been up yesterday, I don’t know where my brain is this week!)
I must apologise for my presentation and photography: my food styling is not going to win any prizes any time soon. But the taste will make up for it. This pie will silence a table of guests, make you friends and possibly even sway a lover into your arms – and it’s EASY.
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients (see notes below)
200gr plain sweet biscuits
500gr dark chocolate
600ml single (pouring) cream
Crush the biscuits into small crumbs. If you have a food processor or blender, use that. Otherwise, use a mortar and pestle, if you have a big one, or, failing that, fold a big piece of greaseproof paper in half, insert bikkies in the fold and crush with a rolling pin. If your kitchen is devoid of a rolling pin, you can use a tin (we can rock the low tech when we need to around here).
Melt the butter and mix with the crumbs in a large bowl. At the beginning, it will look as though you don’t have enough butter, but have faith and keep mixing. It will spread. When it is well-mixed, press the crumb mixture (using the back of a metal spoon) into a lined spring-form tin. (You can just a pie dish or similar if you like, just make sure it’s big enough and make sure you line it with baking paper, so you can lift it out. Otherwise serving could get ugly.) Try to spread the crumbs reasonably evenly and press down well so that they stay stuck together. Stick this in the fridge to firm up while you get on with the rest.
Pour the cream into a large, heat-proof bowl and break in the chocolate. Melt them together, either over a pan of simmering water or in short bursts on a low power in the microwave. Stir regularly with a metal spoon until melted and combined (see note about working with chocolate). When the mixture is combined, beat with a hand whisk until the surface is covered with little bubbles. If you don’t have a whisk, you can leave this bit out, it just makes it a bit lighter. Pour it into the firm biscuit base and refrigerate until firm. (See note)
Notes on size:
This quantity will make a minimum of 12 serves. Seriously, this thing is rich. If it’s for a party or you make it with really dark chocolate, you could cut it into 16 or even 20 pieces and no-one will feel short-changed. You can also make a half-quantity, which, unless you are having guests or have a large family, I would strongly recommend. I can’t imagine what I was thinking, making the large version for just us; this stuff is dieter’s kryptonite!
Now, for the notes on ingredients:
My American readers, please note that the biscuits I am referring to are plain, flat cookies, not what you call biscuits! I use Arnotts Milk Arrowroots for preference. If you want to make it gluten-free, see if you can find a shortbread-style gluten-free biscuit. I have made it many times with Arnotts Rice Cookies and it is lovely. You might want to reduce the butter a little in that case, as they are very buttery.
For the butter, I use regular salted butter. You can use unsalted if you prefer, but I have found that a little salt is an excellent foil for chocolate, so I use salted, in defiance of the fancy cooking magazines!
On to the important part – the chocolate!
When choosing chocolate, cooking chocolate is fine, but try to use one that is at least 45% cocoa solids. If it is less than that, it won’t set properly and it won’t be the same. I once made it from milk chocolate, just as an experiment. It tasted okay, but it didn’t hold together very well and it wasn’t as special. If you are a real dark chocolate lover, go all out and make it with 75-80% cocoa solids chocolate. I have done that and it is AMAZING, but it is also VERY intense. You have to eat it half a teaspoon at a time and some people just can’t do it at all. I have found that, for regular (not chocoholic) people, around 50% cocoa solids is about right. Sometimes I use half 75% and half lower to get the right level. The 45% I mentioned is just because Cadbury make a dark cooking chocolate that is about that and it works fine and it a bit cheaper than using 80% Lindt, which is what I use if it’s for a dinner party…
And now the note I promised on working with chocolate: chocolate is fun to cook with but it can be temperamental. If you are melting it on its own (without cream or butter or whatever) it is very important to make sure that you don’t let it get wet. If water gets into hot molten chocolate, it will ‘seize’. It goes grainy and horrible and there is nothing that you can do to fix it. That’s why chocolate recipes always specify metal spoons, as wooden ones can hold moisture which can wreck the chocolate. It’s also one reason why I say to heat the cream and the chocolate together. You could melt the chocolate first then beat in the cream, but the cream needs to be at room temp, or it will make the chocolate seize. Much simpler this way!
The other reason I suggest melting the cream and chocolate together is that the cream helps protect the chocolate from scorching. The higher the cocoa solids, the better the chocolate and the better the result, but the more susceptible it is to burning. This is why you always melt chocolate over a pan of water, or on a low setting in the microwave. And, in my case, you cushion it with another ingredient. When I make brownies, which need butter and chocolate melted together, I melt the butter in the microwave and then just stir the chocolate into the hot butter to melt it. It has the twin benefits of protecting the chocolate and cooling the mixture so it’s ready to go as soon as the chocolate is melted!
All of which may be more information than you needed, but I am a great believer in sharing things I have learned the hard way, so that others don’t have to!
Sorry it took a while to get up – not quite sure what happened there. But now you have it, I hope you enjoy it!
Happy weekend, Imelda
PS – and don’t forget, you can still enter the draw for a free copy of my new book and other goodies, by signing up for my newsletter. Just leave a comment saying that you want to be on the mailing list and you’re in the draw!