French Silk Pie

frenchsilkWhen I was a very little girl, we would go to this LA chain restaurant called Baker’s Square every week. I would have a grilled cheese sandwich, milk, and a huge slice of French silk pie. Lots of places sell French silk pie, but nothing comes close to Baker’s Square, their food is crap, but the pies are fabulous. The slices were so huge, my mother once asked the waiter to bring me only half a slice, and wrap the other up for later. I was furious, and shrieked “Where’s my PIE?!” until the waiter sheepishly brought out the rest of it. Thus, at the tender age of five, it became clear that pie and I were to be lifelong friends. 

It was at this same restaurant that I was stung multiple times by a hornet under my dress. I cried and cried until a pretty waitress said “little girl, do you want a piece of French silk pie?” Yes, I most certainly did, and it made everything instantly better. French silk pie has a way of doing that.

Years later, I stumbled across a Baker’s Square in Ohio. They were already closed, but I could see employees still working inside. I parked my car, waded through a snow drift, and banged on the door until they opened it. “Is this Baker’s Square from Los Angeles?” I asked them. “Uh… I guess?” came the confused reply. “Well do you have French silk pie?” “Uh… I think we’re kinda…closed.” So I proceeded to tell him my reams of French silk pie stories, and all the memories I had of Baker’s Square and how it reminded me of my dead-but-not-forgotten grandmother, and wouldn’t you know it, he let me in, and gave me an entire French silk pie for free. Baker’s Square is the best.

French silk pie was invented in the 1950s, in the good ol’ USofA, and there’s nothing French about it. I am guessing it is called French silk because the texture is so smooth it might remind someone of silk, and the lightness seems refined, and we all know the word French is synonymous with refinement. I am just guessing here. This recipe is my attempt to recreate Baker’s Square French silk pie. It is the creamiest, silkiest pie of them all! This is a very special pie, and owe it to yourself to make it. You owe it to the world.


FRENCH SILK PIE

For the crust:

  • Megan’s Perfect Pie Crust
  • You will want to fully pre-bake the pie crust, whether you make your own or buy a frozen crust. Even if you buy it frozen, follow my steps for pre-baking.

For the pie: 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 oz (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, either chopped or chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups whipping cream, very very cold (important for Germans)
  • plus more whipping cream for topping later
  • Optional: dark chocolate shavings as garnish
  • Suggested music: Etta James “I Just Wanna Make Love to You”

Pre-bake and cool your pie crust completely. You will not be baking this pie. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk your eggs and sugar until the mixture reaches 160ºF (70ºC) on a candy thermometer. You MUST have a candy thermometer, so put it on your wish list, or order one online, it won’t cost that much, but we are gonna be using it a lot. While this is cooking, you will be chopping your chocolate if you need to.

Once it reaches 160ºF, remove it from the heat and pour it through a sieve (to get out any cooked egg bits) into a bowl, and let it cool to 90ºF (32ºC). I am impatient and usually put the bowl in the fridge. Meanwhile, you can cream your butter in the mixer, and put the chocolate in a metal bowl over a small pot of water on medium heat, or just use your double boiler.

Put your creamed butter into a large bowl and set aside. Clean your mixing bowl and beater, and rinse under cold water, so the bowl is cold. Whip 3 cups of very cold cream until peaks form and it holds its shape. If your egg mixture is cooled enough, pour it into the creamed butter, pour the melted chocolate and the vanilla in and mix it a tad with a spoon. Then pour all of this into your whipped cream bowl, and mix this on high for a bit until perfectly smooth and silky.

Pour into your cooled pre-baked pie shell, and refrigerate for 6+ hours or overnight. I actually didn’t manage to go 6 hours, I went about 4 until I absolutely had to have some no matter the cost, and you can see from the photo it is not perfectly set. To serve, top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings if desired. I always have more than my pie dish can hold, and I pour the extra into little ramequins and eat it like chocolate mousse.

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