This is one of those pies where, when you take the first bite, you close your eyes and drift blissfully away for a few moments.
This is not your run of the mill, chocolate pudding-based pie. This is rich. This is decedent. This pie is all about the filling so if you want to save time and use a pre-made crust go for it. If my brother Bubba had his way, it would never make into the pie crust in the first place so...
What is French Silk Pie?
The interwebs says French Silk Pie was created in 1951 by Betty Cooper, when she made the pie for the Pillsbury Bake Off. Apparently it was the runner-up. Honestly y'all - I want the recipe that BEAT this pie because the only way I can see this pie being a bridesmaid is if the competition were fixed. If you know what it was, please comment below!!
Is French Silk Pie French?
That would be a big negatory ghost rider. The term "silk" certainly comes from its silky smooth texture. I think using "French" makes us think refined and rich whereas "American" seems a little more rustic and hearty. That's just my opinion - I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.
How do I make French Silk Pie?
It's far easier than you might think. First thing - you're going to need a pie crust. I'm not going into that in this recipe. Use your favorite or store bought. Blind bake (pre-bake) it using some sort of pie weights, dried rice, or dried beans and let cool completely. Once this is done, gather your ingredients. For the filling you will need heavy cream, bittersweet (not semi-sweet) chocolate, eggs, sugar, vanilla, water, and soft unsalted butter.
The chocolate... normally I'm not too fussy. Have I used generic chocolate chips before? Yes. But in this particular pie I go for the good stuff. You can get Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate just about anywhere. You can use any brand you like, just make sure it's bittersweet. Chop it up well before you melt it.
Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl and whip on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed a bit and continue to whip until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Put it in a small bowl pop in the fridge while you work on the chocolate.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Stir in softened butter until completely incorporated and then set aside.
Next, in a large, heatproof bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and water on medium for about 5 minutes. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan filled ½-inch of barely simmering water over low heat, and warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. About 3 to 5 minutes. Then, remove the bowl from the heat and beat the mixture on medium speed until it is cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the cooled egg mixture and beat until incorporated.
Very gently fold in the whipped cream. To fold, take a rubber spatula or large spoon and run it around about ⅓ of the bowl all the way to the bottom and then bring the chocolate up and over the whipped cream. Do not stir because you don't want to deflate the air in the cream.
Take your time and go slow. Eventually it will be fully incorporated and ready to pour into your pie crust.
All that hard work deserves a reward! Lick that spatula. Yes, I said lick it! There are perks to being the pastry chef. Now toss it in the sink, if you're like me, or wash it.
Let the pie chill out in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This part can be done the day before even. When you're ready to serve - grab more cream, a little sugar and some vanilla.
Put them all in a large bowl and repeat step #1. by using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer; beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until it just reaches stiff peaks. Gently and generously spread over the chilled pie and garnish with some shaved chocolate if desired. Use your ordinary vegetable peeler to make perfect chocolate shavings. For this recipe I use milk chocolate for the shavings, but any good chocolate will do.
Take a deep breath, make a wish, and take a bite and have that silky chocolatey wish come true!
More pie recipes:
- Easy Lemon Pie
- Creamy Meyers Lemon Pie w/ Meringue Topping
- Southern Buttermilk Pie
- German Chocolate Pie
French Silk Pie
- Stand Mixer
- 9" pie plate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter soft but not melted, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pie crust
- Make your favorite pie crust recipe or use a premade crust and preheat oven to 425℉
- Wrap the dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes
- Line the chilled pie shell with a double layer of aluminum foil, being sure to cover the edges as well, and fill with pie weights or dried beans/rice.
- Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is pale in color, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil and the weights and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer.
- Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and let the crust cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Pour the heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and whip on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. Stir in softened butter until completely incorporated and then set aside.
- In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and water. Beat the mixture on medium speed until pale yellow and thick, about 5 minutes.
- Set the bowl over a medium saucepan filled ½-inch of barely simmering water over low heat, and warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. About 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the mixture on medium speed until it is light and fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.
- Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract to the cooled egg mixture and beat until incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
- Scrape the filling into the pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until it just reaches stiff peaks.
- Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chilled pie and garnish with chocolate curls, if desired.