I have been making this pie for at least 10 years, usually for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is very easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and doesn't require baking.
- 1 baked pie shell
- Graham cracker crust is best although a plain crust is also ok. You may like an oreo crust, but I think it adds too much chocolate flavor (and I love chocolate). Pre-made pie shells work just fine, but homemade is probably better if you have the time to make it. For graham cracker or oreo crusts, melt some butter or margarine and add crushed graham crackers or oreos. Mix crumbs and butter together, then press the mixture into a standard pie pan. Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes and let cool.
- 1 stick margarine or butter
- Butter makes the pie thicker and richer. Margarine is easier to blend and gives the pie a lighter texture. I like butter because the pie is easier to cut.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- White sugar is the standard, but I like brown sugar better. Make sure you smash the brown sugar in your measuring cup to get an accurate reading. Brown sugar seems to blend easier.
- 2 one oz. squares unsweetened chocolate (melted)
- Nestle makes pre-melted packets that are much easier to work with. Knead the packets until the chocolate is liquidy.
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- I like real vanilla better, but imitation stuff works fine and is much less expensive. A little extra vanilla doesn't hurt either.
- 2 eggs
- Medium or large work just fine.
- 1 eight oz. container of cool whip
- Redi-whip or dream whip is also ok. Or make your own creamy topping.
- Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Butter is easier to work with if you leave it out for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. You can use margarine straight from the fridge.
- Gradually blend in sugar until fluffy. Gradually is important here. Spend 5-10 minutes blending the sugar in if necessary. You want the sugar to dissolve into the butter so the resulting mixture isn't grainy. A stand mixer works great here.
- Mix in chocolate and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and mix some more.
- Beat eggs one at a time, mixing at least 3 minutes each. Again, a stand mixer really helps out.
- Keep on mixing until everything is well blended. You really can't overblend, but the mixture will get warmer and less viscous (flows more readily), the more you mix. Of course, you don't want the filling to get too warm, so don't go crazy. If the pie is still grainy, it's ok. Just let it sit in the fridge and everything will blend together.
- Pour filling into the pie shell and cover (An inverted pie shell lid works well)
- Chill for at least two hours in the fridge. (Better if you do it for six hours, or overnight) If you're pressed for time, toss it in the freezer for an hour (no more) and then straight to the fridge. You don't want to freeze the pie.
- Place all of the cool whip on top (make it look nice) and serve immediately.
Suggestions and questions (with answers)
- Do not leave uncovered! It will dry out.
- Leaving the butter or margarine out for an hour at room temperature will soften them up. This makes it easier to beat and the sugar blends in better.
- The most important part of making the pie is blending in the sugar. Take your time doing this. It may take upwards of 10 minutes to blend it in. If you do not blend in the sugar slowly the pie will turn out grainy. If you are really impatient you can slightly warm the butter (5-10 seconds in microwave), which allows the sugar to dissolve easier. The butter/sugar mixture will still taste a bit grainy even if you mix it well; this is normal. Just make sure you take your time blending.
What type of crust should I use?
I prefer a homemade graham cracker crust because it complements the chocolate. You can also use an oreo crust, though I find this to add too much chocolate flavor. The chocolate in oreos is nowhere near the quality of even the worst unsweetened chocolate. It degrades the overall chocolate flavor. A flour crust is ok, but then the pie tastes like a big pastry. The crust doesn't crumble like graham crackers do.
Butter or margarine?
Either works well, but they produce different flavors and textures. Margarine lends to a lighter pie that is more pudding like. Butter makes a richer pie, but is much heavier and dark. Margarine is a better choice if you haven't tried this pie before as it is somewhat easier to work with.
Do you have to bake french silk pie?
No, this pie should not be baked.
But you put raw eggs in the recipe! Isn't that dangerous to my health?
Eh, not really. I have never gotten sick from eating french silk pie. Eggs in the US are most likely pasteurized. Pasteurization kills all that bacteria that tries to eat you alive. As long as your prep area is kept clean and you keep the pie cold there is little risk of infection.
Anything else I should be wary of?
Yeah. Make sure that you eat the pie whenever possible, because other people try to eat it. And then you'd have to make another one. But that's not such a bad thing.