Now that the holidays are over with and winter has REALLY set in – I’ve been having a hard time finding inspiration and energy…for anything! I have been trying to keep my spirits up, currently de-cluttering my studio room where I store all my props for the blog.
It’s a good idea to do a cleanse once in a while. I mean, how many shrimp cocktail dishes can one person possibly need? I have accumulated so many things over the last couple years at yard sales and the Op Shop, I didn’t even know what I had in there.
I came across a stash of some of my favorite cookbooks, cracked a few of the bindings, and felt instantly inspired to get in the kitchen. Which, I hadn’t felt in a while. It felt good. So, I went with it. And, this delectable Chocolate Chiffon Pie is what resulted from my efforts.
Chiffons are a rich, yet light and airy concoctions. Traditionally made by egg whites being beaten until stiff, then folded into a gelatin based mixture. In this case chocolate is the additive (although fruit chiffons are also divine), and it’s poured into a gingersnap crust and refrigerated until set. A dollop of fresh whipped cream on top, and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings finish each piece off just before serving.
Shoutout to Martha Hall Foose and both of her wonderful books (“Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” and “A Southerly Course“), which managed to light a fire in my heart and under my ass this week. Gonna try to keep it up, guys! Stay tuned.
Chocolate Chiffon Pie
FOR THE CRUST:
1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
FOR THE FILLING:
2 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
4 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
semisweet chocolate, for garnish
Heat the oven to 325°F
Make the crust by combining the gingersnap crumbs, butter, and granulated
sugar. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 6 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Make the filling by mixing the gelatin with 1/2 cup cool water and let sit
for 5 minutes until the gelatin softens and blooms.
In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the milk, cocoa, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and the salt just to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Put the egg yolks into a medium bowl and beat lightly. Gradually, in a slow stream, add 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks while whisking continually. Pour the chocolate-egg yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining chocolate mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 30 minutes, until barely warm.
Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the vanilla, and whip to stiff peaks. Gently fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the meringue in three additions.
Spoon the chocolate mixture into the cool pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar. Place dollops of cream over the pie. Grate chocolate over pie just before serving.
Source: A Southerly Course by Martha Hall Foose