In deciding to theme this week’s recipe column to coincide with Sunday’s airing of the Academy Awards I almost went with a tie-in to Best Picture nominee The Artist, a silent film, and submitted a blank page. Hey, give a girl a break —-it’s still Ski-Skate week! But since my personal favorite for this year’s Oscar pick is The Help (Best Picture, Best Actress, Viola Davis; Best Supporting Actress, Jessica Chastian) I decided to get off the hill, get writing and get cooking in tribute to one of the film’s heroines, Minny. Now Minny is a black maid in Mississippi, circa 1962. She is famed for her cooking, in particular her chocolate pie. After being unjustly fired and then slandered by a former employer, Minny returns the favor by baking her up a chocolate pie with some unsavory ingredients. Minny’s “terrible awful” of a pie ends up liberating and giving voice to every abused domestic in the southern town of Jackson.
This following recipe has no unpleasant surprises and will have you taking a bow (so modestly!) at your Academy Award “after party.” Better have that acceptance speech ready...
Chocolate Black Bottom Pie
This is for serious chocolate lovers only. Creamy and delicious, I like to serve it topped with fresh whipped cream or, for more of a Black Forest take, heated cherry pie filling.
Chocolate cookie crust
30 chocolate cookie wafers, preferably Nabisco chocolate wafers, but Oreos can be used if you scrape out the middle.
4 Tbls. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Using food processor, crumble cookies to pea-sized pieces. If you are doling this by hand, put cookies in a Ziploc bag, about 10 at a time, and use a rolling pin to get the desired pea-sized crumbs. Next add butter to cookie crumbs and process until mixture resembles coarse coffee. Using your fingers, pat cookie/butter crust into 9-inch glass pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place in freezer until time to fill.
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbls. unsalted cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
2 cups low fat (1 percent) milk
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk first four ingredients in heavy sauce pan to blend. Whisk in egg yolks to form a thick paste. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Continue whisking over medium heat until mixture thickens and boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla, cool five minutes, whisking occasionally. Transfer to frozen crust and chill for two hours before serving.