What's not to like about chocolate desserts? It's hard to find a reason, especially with a recipe as simple and luxurious as this classic chocolate silk pie. The pie shell is filled with a rich, yet light chocolate mousse that's whipped with butter and eggs and chilled. You can make a crust from scratch if you have time, but make dessert even easier with a store-bought one; if you can find a chocolate shell, even better!
When making the pie, the eggs will be added to a slightly warm chocolate mix. The heat from this will not be enough to cook the eggs thoroughly. Raw or partially cooked eggs can contain salmonella, though the risk is very low, but if you're worried, swap in pasteurized eggs instead. They're readily available in many supermarkets or you can quickly whip up a batch at home.
- 4 ounces chocolate of your choice (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup fine sugar
- 3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
- 3 medium eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 (7 x 2-inch deep) pie shell
Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water to melt. Take care not to let the bowl touch the water, or it will scorch. Or, melt the chocolate in the microwave a few seconds at a time as the chocolate can quickly burn if done too quickly. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat.
Using an electric mixer if possible (this makes the job so much easier!), beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy and pale in color. If you don't have an electric mixer, then use a balloon whisk. Add the salt and mix, then add the vanilla extract and mix again.
With the mixer still running, slowly pour the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture and continue to blend until thoroughly incorporated. Then, add the eggs one at a time, mixing each well after each one before adding another.
Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and smooth the surface with a spatula. Pop the pie into the fridge and leave for 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight until entirely set.
Once set firmly, decorate with whipped cream and grated chocolate, shavings or curls. The pie can be made a day ahead of serving, but only decorate just before.
For a very grown-up pie, use dark chocolate, one with at least 70% cocoa solids will make the filling rich and slightly bitter. Kids may not like dark chocolate, so, instead, opt for lighter milk chocolate—both work the same in this recipe.
Decorate the pie just as above or use fresh summer berries or even a streusel topping.
Flavor the chocolate to ring the changes in season. Add some grated orange peel or a few drops of peppermint extract to the mousse before the final mix, or replace the vanilla with almond extract and add finely chopped nuts for extra texture. The variations are endless!
Make the pie strictly adults-only with a dash of your favorite alcohol. Brandy or Cognac pairs well with chocolate or choose a flavored liqueur—the orange zing of Cointreau will work beautifully.