After making the Banana Cream Pie which resulted in more of a pudding-in-a-pie-shell than any sort of actual cream pie, I was curious whether the fault was with the recipe or with my technique. I had every intention of attempting the Banana Cream Pie version again, but opted first to tackle the Chocolate Cream Pie, as it’s a simple variation on the banana version.
In fact, all three of the cream pies in the MSBH use the same base recipe and technique, varying only in ingredients used. The Coconut Cream Pie version yielded satisfactory results, but it uses coconut milk rather than whole cow’s milk – an important factor in how easily a pie will set up.
Well. When all was said and done I had a pie shell full of chocolate pudding – actually, chocolate soup is more like it – after executing this recipe. And I was so careful to do everything according to the recipe.
Upon cutting a slice (and I use the term “slice” as loosely as possible here), the chocolate filling poured out to fill the new empty spot. It was like I had recreated the Gulf oil spill in pie form.
It was absolutely unacceptable and utterly irredeemable as pie at that point.
But in an earnest attempt to salvage the dessert, I traded out the pie plates for bowls.
It tasted okay but we found out that eating pie in soup form is not enjoyable. Even with cream pie, you want a little resistance when you bite in, no?
Well, after these two disasters, I hauled out my Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and flipped to the cream pie section. I’ve never made a cream pie from the PPB, but I trust those recipes implicitly – the dozens I have made come out perfectly every time.
So, the main difference between the two recipes is that the PPB instructs you to cook the tempered egg-milk mixture for several minutes prior to adding the chocolate, whereas the MSBH instructs you to “immediately” add the chocolate after tempering the eggs and milk mixture and then strain the mixture directly into a bowl to chill in an ice bath. There’s no additional cooking to help the filling thicken.
This might explain this entire Chocolate Cream Pie debacle but it doesn’t account for my problems with the Banana Cream Pie. So, I’m going to attempt the banana version again and I’ll report back. I may even give Beranbaum’s chocolate cream pie a go – I’m feeling a little jilted that I never got to actually bite into a slice.