Did Someone Say Chocolate?

If someone screws up, but it’s not on purpose, does it still count? I wish that it didn’t. I really do. But I’m afraid it probably does. And my friend would likely agree.

It was my friend’s birthday at work. My boss and the birthday girl are the best of friends, and he asked one of the girls in the office to have a birthday cake made to help us celebrate the occasion. Can’t have a birthday celebration without a cake, right? Wanting to do a good job, she asked my boss if he knew what the birthday girl’s favorite kind of cake would be. He thought about it for a moment, and suggested white cake with strawberries. Probably felt pretty good about the decision. Maybe even smiled as he thought about how happy she would be with the cake. And didn’t have a clue how he had just screwed up.

My friend was very gracious when her birthday cake was brought out after lunch. She said it was beautiful. That it was delicious. That she absolutely loved it. And all that was true. It was beautiful. And delicious. And she did love it. But there was one little problem, even though no one at the birthday celebration even realized. While my friend would agree that white cake with strawberries is good, it is not her favorite. Not even close. Want to know what her favorite is? Well, that would be chocolate. Chocolate cake. Chocolate pie. Chocolate brownies. Pretty much anything chocolate. That’s the kind of important information friends should know about each other. And, so you see, we screwed up. Not on purpose, but it still counted.

It has been almost a year since my friend’s birthday celebration. We are gonna try to do better this year. And in her honor, I want to share the best chocolate recipe I have. It’s not chocolate cake. But it’s a damn good pie. And, most importantly, it’s chocolate. Here’s to you girlie.

The first chocolate pie I ever made turned out to be a disaster. Honestly. An absolute disaster. Determined, I didn’t stop trying. I found an old recipe for chocolate pie and tweaked it a little to make it where it could be cooked in a microwave oven rather than having to spend a long time stirring it on the stove top. It’s an easy recipe. The hardest part is having to wait a couple of hours for it to set up in the refrigerator before you can cut that first slice. But it will be worth it. I promise. Enjoy!

2-½ cups milk
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1-½ tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons water
7 tablespoons cornstarch
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Deep-dish pie shell (frozen)

First, you will need to cook a deep-dish pie shell, and have it ready. I simply buy a frozen pie shell, thaw it a little, puncture holes in it with a fork to keep it from rising too much while cooking, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until it is brown. Set it aside to let it cool.

Get a glass bowl that will work in the microwave (a Pampered Chef batter bowl works great), and put in 1-1/3 cups sugar and ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa. Mix that together using a wire whisk, and gradually add 2 cups whole milk until mixed well. Next, cut 1-1/2 tablespoons butter from a stick of unsalted butter, and add it to the bowl. You don’t have to melt the butter, it will melt while cooking. Cook the mixture in the microwave on high for 5-1/2 minutes, stopping it every two minutes to stir with a whisk.

While the chocolate mixture is cooking, combine 6 tablespoons water and 7 tablespoons cornstarch (mixing well with a spoon), together with ½ cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3 extra-large egg yolks, and mix all well with a wire whisk or fork. Add to the chocolate mixture with a wire whisk (once the chocolate mixture has finished cooking for 5-1/2 minutes) and cook for additional 2-minute increments (stirring each time with a wire whisk) until the chocolate mixture has thickened. Once thickened, add a heaping 1 cup of miniature marshmallows to chocolate mixture and stir with a wire whisk. Cook for three more 2-minute increments (stirring after each increment with a wire whisk). Pour the chocolate mixture into the baked deep-dish pie shell, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for a least 2 hours. Overnight is best.

You will want to top the chocolate pie once it has been refrigerated for at least 2 hours. For the topping, beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream at high speed until it begins to thicken. Add ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Continue beating until fairly stiff peaks form, and then top your pile. Finally, add chocolate curls to the top of the pie. For this, I use a Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet chocolate baking bar (found in the baking aisle of the grocery store) and shave it with a vegetable peeler to make the chocolate curls. It shaves better if it is a little bit on the warm side, so I microwave it for 2 or 3 seconds to warm it up.

This chocolate pie was a favorite at Mama’s Dessert Kitchen. It made a lot of people smile. I hope it makes you smile as well.