October 4, 2011

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This French Silk Chocolate Pie was recently featured on an episode of Cook's Country TV.   There was something so nostalgic and retro about it that, despite my apprehension about pies, I had to make it.   

In the world of baking my Achilles' heel always seems to be pies.   You know why?  The darn crust!  I could never get it right, until now!  Cook's Illustrated has a foolproof pie crust that really does live up to its name...seriously it should be called idiot-proof.  And the funny part is that it includes vodka in the recipe, yes, vodka...genius!

I'm not sure where the "French" comes in to play, but perhaps it's describing the texture.  The chocolate filling is so silky smooth, light and delicious...any chocoholic will fall in love with it.   And don't get me started on the crust!

French Silk Chocolate Pie

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in to 1/2" cubes and softened
1 pie shell (9-inch), baked and cooled (see recipe below)

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer whipped cream to small bowl and refrigerate.

Combine eggs, sugar, and water in large heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan filled with ½ inch barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water). With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until egg mixture is thickened and registers 160 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Add chocolate and vanilla to cool egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Using spatula, fold in whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling into pie shell and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve with lightly sweetned whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Foolproof Single Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in to 6 pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cut in to 2 pieces
2 tablespoons cold vodka
2 tablespoons cold water

Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days. 

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.


  1. French Silk ranks up there as one of my favorite pies. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be very popular anymore so I hope it comes into vogue again soon. Thanks for sharing this version of the recipe!


  2. This chocolate pie looks incredible! What a scrumptious recipe.

  3. ummmm....I want a slice right now! Lovely pictures.

  4. This looks amazing. And I totally agree with you about the nostalgia. I think this was one of my favorite types of pies as a kid.

  5. Mmm... that looks gorgeous! I'll have to try this. :)

  6. Anonymous12/05/2011

    I made it twice and it has come out amazing!

  7. Anonymous8/16/2012

    This is the best French Silk pie I have ever eaten! I've seen many recipes that call for corn starch or uncooked eggs-neither of which are too appealing to me. This is the pie my grandma would have made. It is a little more work to cook the custard, but it is totally worth the extra effort. Thank you for this delicious, nostalgic recipe.

  8. Anonymous7/10/2013

    I've made this pie numerous times, and it is always amazing. I've made it for Thanksgiving (as well as the Cooks Illustrated Maple Pecan) and there is rarely a bite left of either. Who needs pumpkin?

  9. Anonymous8/24/2013

    I have made this pie over & over again...perfect everytime! This is the pie that "wows" everyone! :)

  10. It's name defines about its silky quality and yummy taste....hmmmm...it's looks awesome with Chocolate flavor and i think you don't know Chocolate is my weakness from childhood. My mother always try to make truffles,pies,cakes,muffins on my birthday and now i am going to ask her to bake this latest chocolate pie on Chrsitmas day.

  11. I'm so excited to try this! I had a French Silk pie half way done for Christmas before I realized it had 4 raw eggs in it :( I totally got sucker-punched by one of my own rules: read the whole recipe first! So I'm happy to find this recipe--especially since it calls for double the chocolate, half the butter, and half the sugar of the other recipe. Thanks!

  12. Anonymous1/09/2014

    This recipe is nothing short of amazing! I made it to take to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. She liked it so much, she begged me to make it again for her birthday 6 weeks later! Chocolate pies have never been my favorite because they all end up tasting like pudding. However, after making this, it will be my go-to for potlucks. It tastes like the inside of a truffle!

  13. Anonymous8/17/2015

    This pie so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was skeptical about how good the crust could be (thinking of the chocolate cream pie's oreo crust), but boy was I wrong! We love the Chocolate Cream Pie from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook with that wonderful oreo crust (!), but we actually tried both recipes side by side last night, and my husband and I both preferred this one! Considering how good the chocolate cream pie is, you know that's saying a LOT!!! What an amazing texture, SO good with the pie crust, and so chocolately. This is a truly amazing pie! I still highly recommend them both, really. Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!


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