Again, we paired up with partners and shared the tasks of mixing and measuring. We started with the graham cracker crusts for our chocolate pies. Fairly basic recipe/technique for a graham crust. The main part of this pie is the custard....it didn't use cornstarch to thicken it! Instead, it used flour! We had to be careful to boil it only to a certain point so that the custard wouldn't burn...I was in charge of whisking while it was on the heat but made sure that my partner and Chef Brad were both close-by with watchful eyes. I certainly didn't want to be the reason our chocolate pies turned to burnt chocolate pies!
After successfully pouring the custard into the crusts the pies went into the freezer to set...while the class enjoyed the absolutely wonderful leftover warm custard....we were going to run out of tasting spoons quickly if something wasn't done! The pots were whisked away to be emptied and cleaned...we had another recipe to work through!
The tartlets started by us making the mixed berry mix. Interestingly enough we used frozen berries. Since I have friends in the food industry that have shared the secret of frozen fruits and veggies (they are picked and frozen at peak freshness!), I wasn't too worried about using the frozen nuggets. We let the berries marry with the sugar, cornstarch and the delicious smelling Port while we moved on to the dough.
Most people are scared of dough. Personally, I have had some success and some failures...usually it's all about the fact that I cook it too long and it burns! The recipe was fairly straight forward and we used the best utensils made to cut in the butter....our hands! The hardest part of the tartlets for me was crimping them. I'm always too delicate with my crimping and then things explode....so I went back over my crimps, which of course made them a bit messy. Since Chef Brad was in charge of the actual baking, they came out beautiful!
To pass the time while the tarts were baking, Chef Brad showed us how to make a cinnamon whipped cream. He'd already made a whipped cream and then just added the cinnamon and folded. Folding always gets me...I was glad he was doing that part. We got to taste it before we put it on our now set Classic French Silk Chocolate Pies. MMMMM...so good! So good in fact that my partner and I munched our way through the leftover raw pie dough, berry mixure and some of the cream. It was dinner...I'm sure my blood sugars didn't approve but my taste buds won that battle!
We learned a lot about good vanilla (and Chef Brad even shared how to make it!), good Port and of course, how to make these wonderful desserts. The pie was too die for smooth and creamy while the tartlets were flaky and full of slighly tart/slightly sweet fresh berries. Both are something that I would very easily make again and share with friends and family.
Below are the glamor shots of the final products.
Classic French Silk Chocolate Pie Before Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Classic French Silk Chocolate Pie After Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Mixed Berry Tartlets
Next week: Understanding Cakes! (I'm told we won't work in partners....my coworkers may get to feast on the goodies afterall!)
Mixed Berry Tartlets
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 -8 tablespoons of ice-water
In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of ice-water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (If necessary, add up to 4 tablespoons more of water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure flaky crust, do not over process. Transfer half of the dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a square ¾ inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Repeat with other half. Refrigerate until firm; at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days).
Prepare the berry filling by tossing together berries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. (Amounts depend on freshness/juiciness of berries).
Preheat the oven to 425. On a lightly floured surface, roll first disk out to an 8 x 12 rectangle. Cut into six 4-inch squares. Spoon berry mixture into the center of each square. Brush 2 opposite sides of each square with egg wash and fold into triangles. Crimp edges to seal. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with second dough. Brush tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired, and make ½ inch incision to create a steam vent in the middle of each triangle. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes, rotating sheet pan halfway through.
Chocolate Pie Filling
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
Dash of salt
2 cups milk, divided in half
2 tablespoons vanilla
Put dry ingredients into quart jar. Shake well. Add 1 cup mild, shake well again. Add vanilla and 1 cup milk, shake well. Pour into pot and cook about 7 minutes, stirring continually while cooking. Pour into baked pie shell (or graham cracker crust). Top with meringue; or cool and top with Cool Whip.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
¼ cup cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Chill mixing bowl and beaters for at least 15 minutes before using. Place water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
Dissolve gelatin by microwaving for 3 minutes, stirring after every minutes. Remove from microwave and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes; gelatin must be liquid but not warm when added to cream.
Remove bowl and beaters from refrigerator and pour in cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat together just until beater marks begin to show distinctly. Add gelatin mixture to cream, pouring in a steady stream while beating constantly. Beat until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
Enjoy with Love,