Have you ever read the directions to a recipe and thought to yourself “this is just silly, I don’t understand why they don’t combine step 5 & 8, and completely skip over step 2???” I hate to say it, but I have the answer to that question (and I learnt it the hard way).
I found a recipe online called “Grandma’s Chocolate Pie” and the second I read the name of it, I was immediately transported back to being a child.
Summers in Montreal were a magical time spent with my favorite people in the world. The grass always smelt freshly cut, my cousins and I always smelt of horses, and my grandmother’s kitchen was the source of all pleasing aromas designed to awaken the taste buds. Aside from french toast drowning in maple syrup, my favorite thing to come out of that kitchen was the chocolate pie.
I wanted that pie again. I craved it so much I could practically taste the rich chocolate and the buttery crust melting in my mouth… so I searched for it. My grandmother is no longer around, and it is a well known fact that my grandfather does not part with his recipes easily. So, I found myself turning to the internet to find what I was looking for. I think I made it through about 5 recipes before this one caught my eye, and the description the author wrote to go along with her recipe just spoke volumes. Like me, it was her grandmother that made this warm and wonderful treat, and for that very reason it was her recipe that I decided to take with me.
The first time I made the chocolate pie was for a friends birthday. I had some left over crumble crust mix that I had made for an apple pie earlier in the week and I decided that it would accompany the chocolate as the perfect base. I substituted half of the required sugar with brown sugar, and added in dark chocolate as well as cacao powder instead of choosing between the two. I even went as far as to add a hint of cinnamon.
It came out beautifully, well, aside from the look of the base that is. I’ve always said though, get the taste right, and then work on presentation.
Tonight was a very different story. Tonight I decided I was in the mood for something sweet, no matter how hard I tried though, nothing wanted to go my way. I didn’t have oats for the base, so instead of making it a crumble texture I decided to melt the butter when adding it to the flour, spice and sugar mix and turn it into a solid pastry base. I didn’t take into account that for a regular pastry base I had added in far too much butter and the result was just messy. I forgot to buy milk on my way home and instead used heavy cream. There was no whisk for me to beat out the lumps of flour in the chocolate mix. And sin of all sins, I melted butter in the pan I was going to be cooking the chocolate mix in and didn’t wash it before starting the chocolate filling. I now know exactly why the recipe told me to wait until after the chocolate was cooked before melting the butter.
If butter is combined to the chocolate filling before the filling has been cooked, the filling doesn’t cook right. It doesn’t thicken the way it is supposed to. It doesn’t combine. And it most certainly does not have the smooth and wonderful texture it should. Tonight’s pie, was a complete and utter disaster… from base to filling.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to anyone attempting to satisfy their own sweet tooth’s…. please, PLEASE follow the directions. They are there for a reason. I don’t want you to be disappointed with the the lumpy, slimy mess that emerged from my oven smelling like heaven. The smell was a lie, the taste was great, but the texture was so far from right that I found myself wondering why other people let me cook for them.
I attempted the same recipe with me tweaks again the following day, altering the base to my original recipe for one, and making the chocolate filling with out butter in the pan from the beginning…. this is the result.
When the pie comes out right, it tastes like heaven. I made the base a nice, thick, buttery, crumbly base and covered it with the silky smooth and rich chocolate. It was a dream come true