June 15, 2008

Strawberry Chocolate Pie

My older sister's birthday was on Friday and her husband planned her a surprise party for today (Sunday). Since her friend offered to make cake, I took my cue from the just recently fresh Ontario strawberries and made a pie yesterday. For a while now, I'd been eyeballing this recipe for raspberry and white chocolate pie, and waiting somewhat impatiently for the berry season here in Ontario to begin. The original plan (I guess... do bakers make plans? Because really, it's sort of whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it, rather than planning to make specific things) was to make it for Anders, because he loves white chocolate and I don't know many other people who do. Instead, however, I substituted raspberries for strawberries and white chocolate for dark chocolate. And some of the amounts of ingredients were changed significantly and the baking time was way longer, etc., etc., so essentially it's a mere version of the original recipe, but I digress.

I started by making my olive oil pie crust. This, I thought, would be a far sight more difficult than the previous time I made it, because we've had this hot, humid, disgusting weather here. But it turned out just fine.If you'll think back to my recipe for olive oil pie crust, you'll recall that the olive oil has to be frozen before beginning. I put a little bowl full in the freezer in the morning while I waited for Every Kilowatt Counts people to come pick up our old fridge.

See? Old fridge...

New fridge... <3.

Anyway, the fridge people didn't come, and when my parents got home from grocery shopping, I had a shower, ran some errands (which included going to buy some new stainless steel frying pans that Anders and I were going to buy the night previously except that the power went out in the store before we had a chance!), left my camera on the kitchen table and found this gem on it today:

(yea, that's a squirrel, totally flaked out on the top of our fence)

and came back to get started.

By that time it was about 4.30PM. And my olive oil was like a brick. A round, smooth, oily brick...

It shouldn't look like this. If it turns pale yellow, it's too frozen. You won't be able to get it out. Just give it a few minutes (especially if your summers are as gross as the on the summers in Southern Ontario) and it should pop out, though. Don't microwave it. You will regret that.
Me? I didn't give it long enough and was using my pastry cutter on it for aaages before it finally mixed into the other ingredients.

Eventually I ended up with this pleasant lump of dough:

And instead of putting it in the brand new fridge for an hour, I put it in the brand new freezer for half an hour:

While I waited (I set the timer on my oven because my skill for estimating the passage of time is not very well developed), I hulled and washed these beauties:

and admired my new pie plate ($10 at Wal-Mart!):

I also looked up some information of baking a pie blind, because I couldn't for the life of me remember ever having to do it before yesterday. While I was looking at that information, I came across some "techniques" for rolling out dough. I tried one, where I put the dough between two pieces of parchment, but the paper was quickly discarded and instead I rolled it out on the floured, crappy counter top in my kitchen with my lovely marble rolling pin. This brings me to my only gripe with this dough. It's really elastic. You absolutely need a heavy rolling pin and some patience. It pays off, though. It rolled out so perfectly in the end that I didn't have to patch any spots and it didn't stick to anything. Is it possible to be in love with pie dough?

Right, so putting it in my new pie plate was pretty exciting too:

Don't make fun, I've never been good at crimping edges.

For those of you who don't know, to bake a pie blind you need to weight the centre so it doesn't puff up or shrink too much. I just gently pressed in a piece of tin foil and filled the centre with about a cup of dry beans.

I also pricked it with a fork, just in case. I'm panicky like that.

It went in the oven for a total of ten minutes, but halfway through I carefully took out the tin foil and beans without spilling them all over the floor. Go Cathlin. By this time, my sister and her husband had showed up, and we had dinner reservations in about 45 minutes, so naturally I got to work on making chocolate curls. I had never done this before, and turned to Pioneer Woman. You could say that I want to be this woman when I grow up. I also would love if my blog would be as funny and popular as hers. Yea, that's pretty much how I felt all through high school, too.
Anyway, you can find her recipe and method for chocolate curls here. Basically, you throw a tablespoon of Crisco and three ounces of chocolate into the microwave and then mix them until they're.... well, mixed.
At this point, I would go look at Ree's. I did take photos but they're really bad. Plus, I don't have a pallet knife and ended up using a butter knife. It sucked. Seriously, go look at Pioneer Woman's. It's toward the bottom of the page. You won't be sorry.

So, by the time I'd gotten about half of the chocolate curls done, it was time to go for dinner, so I left my chocolate in the freezer, ate some quesadilla at Papagayo's, came back home and gave my sister her gift (in true kitchen-wench fashion, I got her a book of 1080 Spanish recipes), and then got back to my pie.

The filling couldn't have been easier to make, even if I did mess with the ingredients. I started by running some water into the bottom of a double boiler, and then melting eight ounces of chocolate (the recipe called for four) in one cup of whipping cream (the recipe called for 3/4 cup) in the top.

This is what chocolate melted in whipping cream looks like:

Yea, I tasted that deliciousness a few times...

Then I lightly beat an egg, and added the chocolate mixture in, steadily but slowly, until it looked like this:

Now, the recipe said to make sure not to incorporate air. I don't know, mine looks like it had air incorporated.

Let that mixture sit for a minute, and arrange a bunch of strawberries on the bottom of your cool pie shell (I used almost two cups).

And then drown those suckers in chocolate, wahahahahaha!

Okay, so this is where the recipe really didn't work for me: the baking time. Perhaps with four ounces of white chocolate, 3/4 cup of whipping cream and one egg, the 35 minutes suggested baking time would have been sufficient. But when I looked at my pie at 35 minutes, it was still liquid. Completely liquid. So I turned the oven up from 325°F to about 400°F and let it go for about another 30 minutes. At that point it was still sort of jiggly, but it looked baked. I've been puzzling about what to suggest for baking temperature and time all day and I think next time I'll try 400°F for 35 minutes. Of course, I'll be checking it constantly.

By the time the damned thing came out of the oven, it was midnight, so I didn't take any photos. I just went to bed.

This morning when I woke up, it looked like this:

I sliced the leftover strawberries in half and instead of arranging them neatly on top (which is what I did at first and it made me feel like a stuffy grandmother getting ready for a church bake sale), I dropped them on. All willynilly. I really let loose at 8.30 this morning. It was great.

Just don't do this on the brand new white tablecloth your mother just bought for the kitchen table.

Intermission while I shower, get dressed, get pretty, actually go to the party, eat and share the pie, take photos, come home, start my laundry and make my lunch for tomorrow.

What a day!

Okay, so I was sort of concerned about the inside of this pie. I was afraid when the first piece was taken out, it would just be liquid hangin' out in a pie crust. Not so. It was more the consistency of rich chocolate pudding. And the strawberries were so destroyed from being baked that they had almost completely disappeared into the chocolate. Certainly not a bad thing! It tasted like strawberry infused chocolate. Oh goodness, it was delicious. And a huge hit with the crowd, even the people who didn't really like dessert.

You should probably go make this pie right away. People will say things like, "you are a baking goddess/god" (I actually got that one today). If you don't have a mild ecstatic experience while you eat it, we probably shouldn't be friends.


Olive Oil Pie Crust

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of sugar (REALLY optional, depends on what pie you're making)


Place olive oil in the freezer until it solidifies and is of a consistency similar to cold butter, approximately 3 or 4 hours.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix. Add remaining ingredients and blend with a pastry blender. Place dough in an air tight container or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
Roll ball out to 1/8 inch thickness and fit into a pie plate. Use as you would a regular pie crust. To bake it blind, fit a piece of tin foil into the pie crust, and pour in about 1 cup of dry beans. Bake at 425°F for five minutes, remove the beans and tin foil and continue to bake for another five minutes, or until evenly light golden brown.

Strawberry Chocolate Pie
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh strawberries
Dark chocolate shavings
1 prepared pie crust


Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate in the cream. Lightly beat the egg using an electric mixer on lowest speed. While beating, slowly add the chocolate mixture. Beat for 15 seconds more.
Arrange as many strawberries as will fit on the bottom of the pie crust with their pointed ends facing up. Gently pour the filling over the berries Bake until the centre is firm, about 35 to 40 minutes*. Let stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Just before serving, garnish with chocolate shavings and the remaining strawberries.

*I haven't tried this, so I don't know if it'll work, but it seems about right, based on my experience. Don't sue me if it doesn't work though!

Guten Appetit!

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