Save Room for Dessert…Black Bottom Pie

Here’s a little weird tidbit about me, while I’ve never liked pudding, I ‘ve always loved any type of custard pie. Chocolate, vanilla, lemon, coconut, banana, caramel…love the pie! It’s my texture issue; a bowl of pudding is just that, a bowl of pudding. No contrasts, no crunch. But in pie, there’s the creaminess of the custard, the crunchiness of the crust, and the lusciousness of the whipped cream. Truly, a beautiful thing. So, in homage to that sensory delight, today’s post is a black bottom custard pie. From the bottom up there’s the crisp, flaky, and buttery crust, a sinfully rich and chocolate custard, cloaked with a rich vanilla custard, and finally, topped off with a vanilla whipped cream and chocolate shavings. A delight for the connossieur of custard pies everywhere! Hope you enjoy it…

Black Bottom Pie

1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 envelope gelatin
4 tablespoons water
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
All-butter pastry (recipe below)
4 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
Vanilla whipped cream (recipe below)
Chocolate shavings, optional

All-butter pastry
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Ice cold water

Pastry method
Cut the stick of butter into small cubes by quartering the stick of butter lengthwise and then cutting into 32 cubes.
Place cubes on a plate and place plate into freezer for 15 minutes.
Fill a measuring cup with ice cubes and water; chill in freezer alongside the butter.
In a large ziplock bag (1 gallon size), measure in flour, sugar, and salt.
Once butter has chilled for 15 minutes, drop cubes into ziplock bag (a few at a time) and shake to coat with flour.
Press out all air and seal bag.
Place bag on a flat surface, jiggling the bag to distribute the flour and butter mixture evenly.
Using a rolling pin, roll over the bag incorporating the butter into the flour mixture.
After rolling over the bag 2 times, shake and turn the bag to redristribute the mixture, and repeat the process another 2-3 times.
Pour mixture onto a clean surface, and sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of ice cold water. I use a pastry scraper and my hands to incorporate the water. Continue to add water, one tablespoon at a time until you have a shaggy looking mass that holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. I added about 5 tablespoons of water.
Form the pastry into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Roll out the pastry to fit a 9″ pie plate.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line the pastry with a piece of parchment and fill with pie weights, dry beans, or rice and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove parchment and with a fork, prick the bottom crust all over.  Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Melt the 4 tablespoons of chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring until melted. Using a pastry brush, paint the bottom of the pie crust with the melted chocolate. Place piecrust in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.

The custard
Mix together the gelatin and 4 tablespoons of water; set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, half and half, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin mixture, as well as the vanilla. Once mixed, remove 1 1/2 cups of the custard and set aside. To the remaining custard, add the 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted. Allow both custard mixtures to cool.

The assembly
Remove the prepared piecrust from the refrigerator and pour the cooled chocolate custard into the piecrust. Return to the refrigerator and allow to chill for 30 minutes. Spread vanilla custard on top of chocolate custard and refrigerate overnight.

To serve
Prepare the vanilla whipped cream and spread on chilled pie; sprinkle on chocolate shavings and serve.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a mixer, beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.