Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let There Be Light

I am not a huge fan of cake. Okay, there are the occasional exceptions (flourless chocolate cake; K's cake (the one with oatmeal and yogurt and whatever, that L, her 11 year old thinks is nasty); ice cream cake), but generally it just doesn't do it for me. So once I was old enough to move away from the Cookie Monster sheet cakes (my mom did great kids' cakes - we got to choose the design), we needed something else. Somehow (mom?) we ended up with Blackbottom Pie from the Joy of Cooking as our tradition. And so, tonight, with guests coming, I made myself a birthday pie (it's not something that one can find out at a normal NY restaurant birthday dinner).

Despite the title of this post, I didn't add candles (the smoke alarm had already gone off once while making the biscuits - apparently I either need to clean my oven or move, I'm leaning toward the latter). Light is okay, but I don't know that we really need an inferno. The pie was good. It tasted a bit lighter than my mom's. And I'm relatively convinced that she must add sugar to her whipped cream (something I'm normally totally against, but might balance better here).

The other interesting thing was that I used Valhrona instead of Bakers and I'm not sure that was a good switch. The Bakers seems to give it the Blackness, whereas the Valhrona was definintely brown, chocolatey. That said, it was yummy. Everyone seemed to enjoy - and I had seconds.

I didn't get pictures during the meal - apparently there's this thing called a battery that one needs to be aware of in the camera. So, while the chili was awesome (not too spicy, but plenty of flavor) and the biscuits were moist (another plug for AG (Impulsive Late Night Biscuit Ecstasy - twice this week - to be honest, I hadn't finished the first set, but figured I needed hot ones for guests)), you've just got to imagine it. I did take a picture of the last of the pie before clean-up (found the charger):

Black Bottom Pie
A Deep 9-inch Single-Crust Pie

1 tablespoon gelatin
¼ cup cold water

2 cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 ½ oz. melted unsweetened chocolate
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon or more rum (optional)
3 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ oz. shaved semisweet chocolate

  1. Soak gelatin in cold water.
  2. Scald milk. Combine with ½ c sugar and cornstarch. Beat egg yolks until light. Slowly stir the milk into the eggs. Stir in the sugar mixture. Cook these ingredients in a double boiler, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until the custard coats a spoon heavily.
  3. Take out 1 cup of the custard. Add to it the unsweetened chocolate. Beat until well blended and cool. Add vanilla. Pour this into the crust.
  4. Dissolve the soaked gelatin in the remaining hot custard. Let it cool, but not stiffen. Stir in rum. Beat until well blended 3 egg whites. Add cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Beat in gradually, a teaspoon at a time ¼ cup of sugar. Fold the egg whites into the custard. Cover the chocolate custard with the rum-flavored custard.
  5. Chill to set.
  6. Whip cream until stiff. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually. Cover custard with the cream. Top with semisweet chocolate.
  7. Enjoy!


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