September 27, 2012

Better-Than-Sex French Silk Pie

In the middle of a rather trying work week, as I was reading the last 100 pages of Beth Howard’s memoir Making Piece, I was overwhelmed with a pie craving. All of Howard’s talk of the healing powers of pie finally got to me: I NEEDED to make pie. I was feeling a little sad (and angry) that evening, so I raided the kitchen for pie ingredients. A small bag of frozen strawberries wasn’t going to cut it, but I did have a can of pumpkin puree in the pantry...mixed with a couple eggs, some milk, sugar, and spices...and a pumpkin pie was in the oven in less than 30 minutes. The pie was an homage to the approaching autumn, which I am looking forward to after a miserably hot and dry summer. The golden pumpkin pie came out of the oven at 8:30 that night. I stayed up reading until it was cool enough to slice and eat.

And you know what? I felt better. There is definitely something to this pie therapy. As Howard says, "Pie may not cure cancer, but it could cure the blues."

But, I’ve always been smitten with pie. Even though I learned to make pie crust several years ago, I am still so happy every time I make a start off with a bunch of individual ingredients and end up with something that I made from scratch with my own hands, something that is an entity in and of itself, that is completely different from the pile of things I started out with. Flour, salt, butter, and water become a tender, flaky, golden crust. Fruit, sugar, and cornstarch become a sweet, sticky filling. It's a comfort to create something that makes people happy. The fact that it tastes good doesn't hurt either.

I get it, Beth. I really do. (And yes, we are on a first name basis now. More on that in a couple months. *wink*)

In fact, I get a lot of what Beth was feeling about life and love and loss. And sex. She talks about sex pretty frequently. Of course, sex and food are often closely linked in terms of satisfaction. Pie really is quite sexy (the words itself is sexy.....say it soft and slow..... p i e ). Also, ALL THE PUNS. See...?

Specifically, Beth vividly describes tasting orgasmic chocolate pies while judging at the Iowa State Fair a couple years ago:
The pie was so intensely delicious that eat bite made my eyes roll back in my head with pleasure. Tasting the flavor and feeling the texture melting in my mouth was the pie equivalent of having an orgasm. I had never had such good sex--I mean, pie. While any of these totems to the chocolate gods could have taken first place, there was one in particular that stood out to me. It was made by Lana Ross, from Indianola. [...]
Of Lana's pie, Howard declares: "This is a pie I would like to rub all over my body. And have a man lick it off ."

Me, too, Beth. Me. Too.

Better-Than-Sex French Silk Pie
 Recipe by Lana Ross, second-place winner at the Iowa State Fair, 2010

1 cup [all-purpose] flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lard
scant 1/3 cup water
  • Prepare crust by cutting the lard into the flour and salt. Gradually add water until all is moist. Roll out and place in a 9 or 10-inch pie pan. Blind bake [at 425 degrees] for 15-20 minutes, then let cool.
  • Kelly's Note: My crust was still fairly raw on the bottom after 20 minutes. So, I took out the foil & pie weights, docked the crust, and baked for an additional 15 minutes until the bottom was golden brown.
1 cup [unsalted] butter
1 1/2 cups extra fine sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
4 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for 5 minutes after each addition. Pour into cooled pie shell. Chill at least 4 hours. 
  • Kelly's Note: Be sure to use extra fine (castor) sugar. I couldn't find any in my supermarket, so I just used plain ol' granulated sugar. As a result, my filling had a slight crunchiness to it. Not horrible, but a smooth filling would have been so much better. You can make your own castor sugar by grinding it in a blender or food processor until it's fine but not powdery.
    I was, apparently, just too lazy to do so.
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until thick. Pipe [or spread] onto cooled pie. Garnish with chocolate shavings [I used bittersweet chocolate].
  • Kelly's Note: I found that 2 cups was WAY too much, as I don't like a ton of whipped cream on top. Use half for a pie like mine or use the whole recipe if you want a taller topping. 


Unknown said...

Looks great! I bet it is so smoothy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You don't cook the filling?? So it has raw eggs in it?

Kelly @ Barbaric Gulp! said...

That's correct. The filling is a traditional chocolate mousse, which uses raw eggs.