French Silk Chocolate Pie
Why this recipe works:
Don't let the name fool you: the recipe for French Silk Pie was born in America. Created by Betty Cooper in 1951 for the third annual Pillsbury Bake-Off, this old-fashioned icebox pie is rarely made today, perhaps because it calls for raw eggs. We wanted to develop a modern, cooked-egg version… read more
Don't let the name fool you: the recipe for French Silk Pie was born in America. Created by Betty Cooper in 1951 for the third annual Pillsbury Bake-Off, this old-fashioned icebox pie is rarely made today, perhaps because it calls for raw eggs. We wanted to develop a modern, cooked-egg version with ramped-up chocolate flavor.
We tried using egg substitutes first in place of raw eggs, but these had an off, artificial flavor. We found that only real eggs would do, but rather than incorporate them raw, we cooked them with sugar on the stovetop, almost like making a custard. Once the egg and sugar mixture was light and thick, we removed it from the heat and continued whipping it until it was fully cooked.
The filling was much too dense when we beat in the two sticks of softened butter called for in the original recipe. Instead, we cut the amount of butter in half for a more satiny texture.
We had the texture locked down for our French silk pie recipe, but it was still lacking in flavor. We found bittersweet chocolate folded into the cooled egg and sugar mixture boosted the chocolate flavor better than other varieties we tested. To lighten the pie, we incorporated whipped cream into the filling before spooning it into the pie shell—the filling was light and silky, but rich, thick, and chocolaty.
Serves 8 to 10
You will need a fully baked pie shell for this recipe. Use your favorite pie dough or use our No-Fear Pie Crust recipe (related). Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
1. Whip cream: With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer whipped cream to small bowl and refrigerate.
2. Beat eggs: Combine eggs, sugar, and water in large heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan filled with ½ inch barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water). With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until egg mixture is thickened and registers 160 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
3. Beat, fold, cool: Add chocolate and vanilla to cool egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Using spatula, fold in whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling into pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve.