This is the Pieday about which I should have posted, well, quite a while ago.
Britons* will probably be able to calculate exactly how long I have been procrastinating when I explain my reasons.
I blame the Great British Bake-Off.
I was ready to write this post, I was even quite excited about this post.
And then they baked almost exactly the same thing.
And, of course, they did it better.
So I, being apparently, ludicrously insecure, have been putting this post off ever since.
But no more!
Behold, oh puny mortals the glory that is French Silk Pie!
Or rather that isn't French Silk Pie.
For a start, this pie is not French, it's American.
Furthermore the filling is not silk**, it is chocolate.
What is more, a more pedantic*** person than I would probably argue that it was not a pie but a tart.
This is clearly nonsense: it has a filling, it is surrounded by a crust, ergo it is a pie****.
What we made, however, was not a French Silk Pie.
We started out in good faith, with a standard recipe and hope in our hearts.
Somewhere along the way, though, we wandered from the true path, resulting in chocolate pastry, chocolate cream and about seventy five percent more theobromine cacao than the average confection.
And it was good.
We didn't make a French Silk Pie
165g plain flour
25g ground almonds
120g chilled butter
190g caster sugar
(Optional: a spoonful of cocoa and some sort of liquid).
75g not so chilled butter
150ml double cream
Dark chocolate (opinions vary on how much, I say just buy a bar and use it)
(Optional: more double cream and more chocolate)
A dash of vanilla
First make and chill the pastry.
It feels like I've gone over this a lot, but that may only have been inside my head so here goes.
First combine the flour and almonds in a bowl.
If you want to make chocolate pastry then take out a spoonful***** of flour and replace it with a similar amount of cocoa.
Grate in the chilled butter as quickly as possible given that you suddenly have six hands all trying to grate at once and at least four of them are rather warm and two of them are...sticky...eugh.
Stir in the sugar then add the egg and stir this gloopy mass with your myriad hands until you have a soft dough.
Assuming you added the cocoa, you will find that you have not a soft dough at all but an awkward crumbly mass.
Add a splash or so of some sort of liquid****** and continue working the mixture as quickly and lightly as possible until you do have a soft dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and stick it in the fridge.
Scour Small Chef and Smaller Chef until they are no longer caked in dough-gunk and then scour the house for the library books.
Regret the opportunity to use a sentence involving zeugma.
Explain what zeugma is.
On the way to the library listen to many examples of sentences that either are not zeugma or do not make sense.
When finally presented with an entirely rational zeugma-employing sentence do not shout "Yes! Yes! That's it! Finally".
You will disturb the other occupants of the bus.
Come home, make lunch, remember you have a pie to make and get on with stage two.
Roll out the pastry, put it in your pie-dish, prick it all over, fill with parchment and baking beans and blind bake for fifteen minutes.
Take out the beans and things and give it another ten minutes, then take it out and leave to cool.
Place a bowl inside a larger bowl and pour boiling water into the larger bowl until it rises up the sides but does not spill.
Break up the chocolate and place it in the bowl to melt.
You will probably have to change the water a few times so put the kettle on again.
Mix the butter and sugar in a small saucepan and place on the heat.
Observe that Chefs Small and Smaller are now so well trained that they regard anything resembling a double boiler as though it were a nuclear bomb and yet they have no fear whatsoever of the very hot stove.
Make a note to work on this sometime.
Make a further note to look up pictures of burn victims when you have a moment.
If you're going to scare your kids, you might as well do it accurately.
Stir the eggs and sugar over the heat and keep on stirring until the mixture will coat the back of a metal spoon.
If you have a kitchen-thermometer then you should probably use it: in this case stop stirring when it reaches 160 fahrenheit.
Take the mixture off the heat, dump in the melted chocolate and a dash of vanilla and stir till smooth********.
Leave this to cool a little while you get on with the rest.
Now take it in turns to beat the butter until it is light and fluffy, dodging splatters of flying butter as necessary.
Stir the chocolate mixture into the butter and beat the whole lot until it looks fluffy again.
Take a clean bowl with higher sides than you think you will need.
Pour in the double cream and whip till it forms firm peaks.
Do not permit any chef to do this if you value your nice, clean********* kitchen.
Fight Small Chef for possession of the whisk if necessary.
Why did you clean the kitchen the night before Pieday anyway?
Fold the peaky looking cream into the chocolate to produce something dark and wonderful and entirely healthy-looking.
Pour this into the pie shell and place in the fridge to chill.
Clean the cream and butter splatters off the walls.
If you feel the need for yet more chocolate, or if you just have a lot of cream and chocolate left over, then melt some chocolate********** in the same way as you did earlier, let it cool a little and whip the cream till it forms stiffish peaks.
Gently fold the chocolate into the cream and dollop this on top of your pie.
Shave yet more chocolate over the top with a cheese grater.
Contemplate new names for your creation.
Vote on the best one.
Save for dessert and serve in slim slices as it is very rich.
Wait till the worthy chefs are at their well-earned repose then finish the lot.
*Or at least those dwelling in Britain.
**Which would be revolting.
**** Next week: I bend reality yet further to produce moussaka.
Which is definitely pie!
*****Tea or table, I won't judge.
******Milk, orange juice, whatever you like*******
*******But not that, ew, that's a terrible idea, what were you thinking?
********Personally, I am always smooth.
**********I don't know.
Maybe a third of a bar?
How much do you have left anyway?
You know you can just eat it, don't you?