French. Silk. Chocolate. Pie. These are four of the sexiest words in the English language, and sexy is the best single word I can think of to describe this decadent, classic dessert. Perhaps it's the way that billows of whipped cream and flirtatious chocolate curls coyly reveal just a hint of the luscious chocolate filling that lies beneath. Or the smooth, unctuous chocolate filling that eases the fork down into a flaky all-butter crust.
It's all about the chocolate, so be sure to select the best one possible. For a filling that is airy like a mousse but also dense like a truffle, you'll want to use chocolate with a cacao content in the 58-71% range. Anything higher won't contain enough fat to achieve the silky, creamy texture, and using milk chocolate (lower percentages) would cause you to lose the rich chocolate flavor and color.
Be sure to select a chocolate in the 58-71% cacao range for optimal texture, flavor, and appearance.
The secret to this pie's rich and airy texture is that it contains sabayon; a foamy mixture of whipped egg yolks, water, and sugar, that have been whisked over a double boiler until it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's your first time making a sabayon, do not worry if you need to go slow or frequently remove the bowl from the top of the double boiler to whisk away from the heat. Just be sure to whisk continuously, protect your hands from the heat, and check the temperature frequently as you go.
To make this pie at home, first click over here for a tutorial and recipe for making a fantastic and easy flaky pie crust (you'll only need a single crust for this pie).
- One single pie crust, blind baked in a pie plate and cooled
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 3 large egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. water
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- Freshly whipped cream, for serving
- Optional: chocolate shavings
Whip heavy cream and set aside in the fridge.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
Whisk the yolks, sugar, and water together in the bowl from your stand mixer (if using) or a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water (double boiler) and whisk vigorously.
Continue to whisk until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and remove from the heat.
Immediately begin whisking yolk mixture on high speed (use towels to protect your hands, the bowl will be hot!) until it grows in size and thickness and comes to room temperature—about 5 minutes.
Reduce speed of mixer to low and begin streaming the cooled melted chocolate into the bowl with the yolks. Mix until combined.
Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream (you may need to rewhip a bit before doing this since it will loosen up in the fridge), taking care not to deflate the cream.
Pour mixture directly into the cooled, blind-baked pie shell.
Chill the pie in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Top with additional whipped cream and chocolate shavings right before serving.
Tip: Use a knife dipped in warm water for clean slicing, and be sure to clean the knife between each incision.
stand mixer, double broiler