I recently hosted a girls' night with a couple of girlfriends. We watched Waitress, that very feminist, female-empowering (read: awesometastic) movie with creative pie recipes woven into the storyline. Main character Jenna, played by Keri Russell, makes pies for a living, but what's unique about her pies is that her life experiences often drive the kinds of pies she makes.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Jenna finds out she's pregnant and names a pie, "I Don't Want Earl's Baby" Pie. It's a pie made of egg and brie cheese with a smoked ham center.
- "Baby Screaming Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life" Pie: New York-style cheesecake, brandy-brushed and topped with pecans and nutmeg.
- "Earl Murders Me Because I'm Having an Affair" Pie: smashed blackberries and raspberries in a chocolate crust.
- "I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong and I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me" Pie: Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana.
- "Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser" Pie: Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambeed.
That list is probably only half the pies Jenna invents during the movie. What could be more appropriate during this pie-themed Girls' Night than for me to make a pie, too. I chose a Dorie Greenspan chocolate pudding pie recipe with a graham cracker crust. Dorie calls it "Chocolate Cream Dream" Pie. It's quite a cute name, but in honor of the film, I had to rename it "Leave Your Man at Home" Pie. After all, this is girls' night. And I wrote the word P-I-E on the top with chocolate chips, you know, in case anyone thought we were eating, um, baked alaska? It was the perfect pie to get us in Waitress mood.
Chocolate Cream Dream Pie
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan in Sweet Times
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Bring milk and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, flour, and cornstarch together by hand until thick, smooth, and pale. Very gradually add the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture through a strainer and back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the cream thickens and one bubble comes to the top and pops, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in the chocolate and vanilla. Scrape the cream into a clean bowl, lay a sheet of plastic wrap against the top of the cream, and chill for at least 1 hour. The cream can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 11 double crackers)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar (Dorie calls for 2/3 cup shredded or flaked coconut but I've replaced that with sugar)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl or a food processor, mix together the crumbs, melted butter, and sugar until uniformly moistened. Press mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie plate, bringing crust up to top of plate around the sides. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a rack. Crust can be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated for 2 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whip cream until it holds soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold in the sugar and vanilla.
Fill the crust with the chocolate and top with whipped cream. Refrigerate up to 3 hours.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Combine egg yolks, flour, and cornstarch...
Whisk together till light yellow and thick...
Pour the hot milk-sugar mixture into the egg mixture slowly while whisking in order to temper the eggs (you don't want omelet like I tend to do!), then strain the mixture through a sieve back into the saucepan...
Cook until the milk-egg mixture thickens, remove from heat, and add vanilla and chocolate...
When it resembles chocolate pudding, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly across the surface of the pudding (to avoid a skin forming), then refrigerate...
To make the crust, blend together graham crackers, melted butter, and sugar...
Press into a pie pan and bake for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees F...
To assemble, fill the pie crust with the pudding...
Whip up the heavy cream...
Fold in the confectioners sugar and vanilla...
Spread on top of the pudding, then refrigerate the pie until you're ready to serve...
You've got pie!
"Leave Your Man at Home" Pie!