In a few weeks I start culinary school, and I can't wait to learn the rules so I can break them! My box of knives and chef uniforms have arrived, and there's nothing like the gleam of those new blades to spark some reflection on this upcoming chapter in my life, as well as my foodie roots.
I'm told that my first word as an infant was "more," after receiving my first taste of Thanksgiving turkey. (To this day, turkey and gravy is still a favorite.) And "more" has been my motto ever since. When I first started messing around in the kitchen, I'd work my way through recipes out of cookbooks on loan from the library, but I was never very good at following them to a T. This resulted in some losers, but also some winners.
During those blossoming years, I entered a pie contest at my little brother's elementary school. As I looked through a cookbook that was full of "death-by-chocolate," it occurred to me that French silk pie wasn't going to be enough. It needed to be more. Like a French silk pie with a second brownie pie layer, chocolate cookie crust, fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings.
That's what I made, and it came in first out a room full of pies crafted by suburban housewives, who were surprised, I think, when a punk kid came up to claim the grand prize of a gift certificate to Olive Garden. It was a little confidence boost that really fueled me to keep experimenting.
I've been wanting to re-create this pie for some time now, so here it is, with some tweaks and a new gluten-free brownie crust. You can serve it all grown up if you give it a little drink of Chambord.
Double-decker chocolate raspberry pie with brownie crust
This gluten-free version was accidentally inspired by a recipe I found for "Deep, Dark Chocolate Cookies" (Bon Appetit, June 2008). They're one of the best fudgy cookies I've had, so I decided to fashion the dough as a pie crust.
- 2 egg whites
- 1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- dash of salt
- Ganache custard layer:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Optional: 2 tablespoons Chambord
French silk layer:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 ounces raspberries
- about 1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heavily butter a 9" pie or spring-form pan.
Melt about half of chocolate chips (about 4-5 minutes on defrost setting in microwave, stirring every minute or so). Let cool.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in 2/3 cup powdered sugar.
In a separate bowl, blend remaining 2/3 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt. Mix in melted chocolate and chocolate chips.
Flatten dough to cover the bottom of pan (dough will not hold its shape like a pie crust during the early baking stages); press up sides of pan and let bake for 6-7 minutes. Using the back of a spatula or spoon, re-press dough against sides of pan, about 1/8" thick, and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Next, in a small saucepan heat heavy cream for ganache custard over low-medium heat, careful not to boil. Add chocolate and butter and stir constantly until melted. In a separate bowl, cream egg yolks until lemon-colored. Whisk in chocolate mixture, stirring 1-2 minutes until thickened. Add Chambord if desired.
Pour mixture into crust and chill in refrigerator while preparing the French silk layer.
For this layer, melt chocolate and let it cool while, in a separate bowl, creaming the butter and gradually beating in the sugar until well blended. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and chocolate, mixing until smooth. Pour mixture over ganache layer and let chill for 6-8 hours.
When ready to serve, beat heavy cream for topping until stiff peaks form, blending in sugar gradually. Spread over pie and top with raspberries and chocolate shavings.