So you’re looking for a delicious dessert to serve your guests, or a pie to bring to a holiday meal, or maybe you’re just in the mood for something sweet and decadent.
If you ask Anita Crofts, author of Meet Me at the Bamboo Table: Everyday Meals Everywhere, pie is always an excellent choice.
But maybe you’re not feeling like fruit today, and you’re all squashed out.
Enter the French Silk Chocolate Pie.
French Silk is a mousse-filled delight, perfect at any time of year. It’s not totally clear why chocolate silk and even certain coconut pies have the word French in their names, but they seem to always be filled with some sort of mousse or custard.
Somewhat confusingly, as far as we can tell, they find their origins in the US rather than Europe.
This seems like one of those cases where “French” was added to substitute for “fancy.” Or maybe the original baker who named this scrumptious dessert had actual French silk in mind, since the smooth, rich filling evokes the light, airy, satiny feel of a luxury fabric.
Well, sort of. If fabric doesn’t make your mouth water, then feel free to set that analogy aside!
Anita says, “This recipe was known by my mother, Betsy Crofts, and grandmother, Anne Maxfield, as neighbor Charlotte Dobrasin’s Chocolate Silk Pie. My grandmother perfected the pie, and it became a family favorite, served to this day on special occasions.”
If baking is a tradition in your home, we highly recommend this recipe! Don’t be surprised if the requests start rolling in to bring it with you to every holiday dinner or potluck.
Helpful Tips and Making It Your Own
Though you could use a pre-made pie shell to speed up the process, we recommend our recipe for a buttery, flaky pate brisee crust. The prospect of making a pie dough from scratch may be a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be – along with the recipe, in this post Kendall Vanderslice provides helpful advice, an explanation of what exactly is going on in that dough that you’re forming, blind baking tips, and more.
We think this tried and true recipe is wonderful as is – but there’s something to be said for special family variations. Regardless of the recipe that you follow, every pie is unique, stamped with the mark and imbued with the love of its maker.
After you’ve tried this recipe a few times, feel free to experiment a little to make it your own. Maybe you’re more of a milk chocolate fan, or chocolate and peppermint is your favorite holiday combo.
Or maybe you’re thinking graham cracker crust, peanut butter whipped cream, and a sprinkling of crushed peanuts to top it all off. The sky’s the limit!
It’s important to note that although the crust is baked, the eggs added to the fluffy mousse are not cooked. If this is a concern, try using in-shell pasteurized eggs. And be sure to use eggs that are cold, to help that silky-smooth mousse to come together.
To learn more about Meet Me at the Bamboo Table, check out Episode 2 of the Foodal Podcast.
Are you an avid pie baker? What are your family favorites? Let us know in the comments!
Photo credit: Anita Crofts. Used with permission.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a foodie from Philly who is based in LA, where she loves exploring the restaurant scene with her husband. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College as well as an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen making a fresh green juice or whipping up something tasty for dinner (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she’s doing the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her laptop, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a food-filled magazine at the beach.