pens or pins? that is the question...

What's one to do when the heart and hands enjoy words and fabric, the pattern of paragraphs and quilts to an equal enthusiasm? To solve my dilemma I'm writing the print that stirs me and sharing the journey of blending fabrics into quilts and wearables, the discovery of old--be it quilts or friends, and the pleasures of today. Come...have a visit with me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hands Down!--CHOCOLATE Wins!

Homemade Chocolate pie--the favorite of our crowd

"Let me bring dessert," I offered. 
"Chocolate pie?"my friend quizzed. 
"Will that compliment your entree?" I asked. 
Glazed, almost serious eyes looked back at me. "How could chocolate pie NOT fit my entree?"he laughed.

I knew immediately-- no other dessert options, chocolate pie was THE choice. So it is and ever shall me. Our family (and many of our friends) think of me making only one fitting dessert for every occasion, what they call Alice's chocolate pie.

I'm not sure how the tradition began. Mom made chocolate pie from her mother's recipe. We loved it. Then when I became the matriarch of the family kitchen the chocolate pie expectations strengthened. 

At every occasion  my husband, relatives or friends tease each other about the size of the pie slices. And George, who prides himself regarding his daily diet, looses all discipline when chocolate pie is still in the kitchen after company has departed. 

Over the years I've customized our favorite pie, combining mom's recipe with Better Homes and Gardens and the classic recipes I acquired in college foods classes. I still enjoy reviewing and comparing a yummy chocolate pie in a magazine to our family favorite. To play with tradition by adding espresso or rum extract is fun, partly to question the family's palette. And I've learned, through lots of experimentation--quality DARK chocolate and homemade crust make the difference.  

Regardless of the occasional variations, the family chocolate pie is THE favorite, maybe the only pie that is always welcome at our dessert table.

First, mix dry ingredients thoroughly; add milk 1/2 at a time.
Stir until completely mixed and while the heat thickens the pudding.
Stirring and low heat make a great pudding. - Add butter and vanilla after thickened. 

Homemade pie crust is the best. I use Hodgson's Mill 50/50 flour  &  real butter-yum!

To baked and cooled crust pour the chocolate filling

Beat egg whites to frothy peaks--a beautiful final addition

Not a crumb will be left--I promise.



1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch OR 1/3+1/6 cup of flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 squares of unsweetened dark chocolate (I use Ghirardelli)
1 Tablespoon of high quality cocoa (again, Ghirardelli)

Mix all dry ingredients until totally blended. (cornstarch or flour MUST BE blended into the sugar to avoid lumps)
Chocolate squares are added with milk.

3 cups milk (I use 2%, whole and/or canned milk)
Pour 1/2 of milk into dry mixture and stir until well blended. Cook on low temperature, thickening the mixture.
As it thickens add the last amount of milk, continue cooking, stirring until pudding consistency. Next, add

3 egg yolks--Break yolks into custard cup. QUICKLY add some hot chocolate mixture, stirring fast to blend the ingredients. Pour the egg yolk/chocolate mixture into the main mixture.

2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Stir into the cooked pudding. Set aside to cool

PIE CRUST (variation on a KitchenAid mixer recipe)

Hot oven - 450 degrees
1 9 inch pie plate

2 1/4 cups of mixed 50/50 wheat/unbleached flour (I use Hodgson Mills)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup real butter (1 1/2 sticks cut in narrow chunks)
4-6 tablespoons COLD water

Pour  and mix flour and salt into mixing bowl. Add chunks of butter while the mixer is turning. Mix the flour and butter until it looks like small peas. Add 1 Tablespoon of water at a time until the dough "cleans" the bowl. (amount of water varies, but usually about 4-5 tablespoons is perfect). Take dough from bowl, form into a ball.

Flour a work surface. Lightly flour the dough ball. Roll out in a circle shape, about 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Lift and center over plate and form the shell to fit the plate. Bake at 450 degrees about 8-10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.


3 egg whites
6 Tablespoons sugar
pinch salt /cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour egg whites into mixing bowl. Add salt and cream of tartar. Begin whipping and add two tablespoons 
sugar at a time until all is used. Whip to stiff, but not dry. Add vanilla. (I like to add the sugar as the whites are whipping to avoid a grainy texture.)

Pour pudding into baked  9 inch shell; Spread meringue over pudding, touching the crust edges with meringue so it will not shrink. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool and ENJOY!

Happy cooking,


And a favorite scripture: I Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality up to one another without grumbling.

And a favorite cookbook: Helen Corbitt's red book titled Helen Corbitt's Cookbook, dated 1957.
(I used my first one so long that the pages fell from the spine. I found another in an antique store and see it often in book stacks in antique or half/price book sales.

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