|French Silk Pie, A Labor of Love That's Well Worth the Effort|
The Famous French Silk Pie
We don’t make
cakes for birthdays anymore. We make pie—French Silk Pie to be exact. It’s the
treat of choice in our family. And I make plenty—especially in the month of
September. Even though it’s labor intensive, just hearing the family ooh
and ah over that first bite makes it worthwhile. Seeing them pat their bellies
and grin just warms my heart.
dessert came to us from Terry’s Aunt Jamie by way of his mother, Eloise (aka
Mo). Jamie picked it up in a cooking class in Paris when Terry’s Uncle Sully, a
colonel in the Air Force, was attached to the U.S Embassy there. Although I
never got to eat one of Jamie’s originals, I’ve enjoyed many a piece at my
mother-in-law’s table, as well as at my own. It’s a labor of love, but truly
worth the effort.
The first time I
tasted French Silk Pie was back in 1973. Terry and I weren’t yet married, but item enough that he spent lots of time at our apartment. (I was a package
deal with two children, ages seven and nine.)
The French Silk
Pie he served us wasn’t his original effort. Actually the road to success
had been a bit rocky, or should I say soupy. As we gobbled up our first pieces
of that dream dessert, he told us the story.
Hungry for his
favorite pie, he’d called his mother who lived in Florida to get the recipe.
(That was before email and texting.) He didn’t want to wait for a letter, so
she dictated it to him over the phone.
assembled all the ingredients and faithfully creamed the sugar, butter and eggs to
a fare-thee-well. Cooled the chocolate before adding it. Poured it in a totally
cooled crust and refrigerated the pie for the required time.
But that pie
would not set up. Each time he placed a poof of Cool Whip—our version of
whipped cream back then—on top, it sank into the depths of the soupy
After the second
failure (an ugly word), he called Mo back. A seasoned cook, she’d
figure it out. He knew she would. They went through the recipe again,
ingredient-by-ingredient, step-by-step. Here's how I imagined the conversation
might have gone.
“What kind of
margarine did you use?” (Yes, we used margarine back then, too.)
“Do you have the
“Got it right
here,” he said, stretching the phone cord across the kitchen so he could open
the refrigerator. “Kraft Parkaye Whipped Margarine.”
“Did you say, whipped margarine? I bet that’s the problem. It’s softer. No wonder the pie won’t set
up. Try it again with regular margarine.”
With hope in his
heart, Terry dashed off to the store to buy the ingredients.
Later, after much
creaming, beating and cooling, he proudly presented the rich, creamy pie to us.
And he was right.
It was to die-for-good. And it still is.
I haven’t done
hands-on cooking classes for this pie with my family, but I think one is in order. I’m sending
out the call. There’ll be pictures. Lots of pictures. Mothers and grandmothers
do that. I’ll let you know how it goes.
February, someone will make a pie for me.
I'm sharing the
secret to success is in the beating. Lots of beating.
1-cup butter or
1 ½-cups sugar
unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs (or 4
1 baked pie shell
10-15 minutes, gradually adding sugar. Add 2 squares melted, cooled
unsweetened chocolate & 1 tsp. vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time,
beating 5 minutes after each one egg. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill 2
hours. The secret is lots of beating.
(Make it the day
before. It's even better the 2nd day.)
* Note: I've decided that extra-large eggs change the consistency of the pie--make softer fluffier, which isn't bad, but it's not in keeping with the original version.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy's Ridge 2016. All rights reserved
Labels: French Silk Pie, Pi Day, Pies