WOW, I haven’t managed a blog post in absolute ages and ages! Life has been incredibly busy though, so I have an excuse. Since my last update a few (several) months ago *blush* I’ve packed up my entire house into a shipping container and sent it off halfway around the world, spent a lovely last week in Europe skiing, said farewell to London, flown halfway around the world with two small children, moved into our rental house with the bare minimum of borrowed camping gear, unpacked the shipping container on its arrival, searched for and found a fabulous job, settled the kids into a lovely nursery school and started working…fulltime! So as you can see, I have good reasons for my recent silence. However, I’ve managed to scrape some time out of my busy schedule for a blog post.
Before I left the UK, my lovely chefy friend over at Colour Me Happy Kitchen very sneakily gave me some house warming spending money. Naturally I HAVE to spend this on kitchen goodies. So far I’ve bought a much needed non stick cooling rack. An extra large one! 🙂 its big enough to cool 2 of my large Christmas cakes at once. Or a super large batch of cookies. I also treated myself to some teeny weeny pastry tins, with removable bottoms. They are too cute, about 15cm in diameter. Check them out in the photos. And they worked perfectly for this chocolate pie.
There is currently a delicious tv show in New Zealand called the Hottest Home Baker. All of the dishes are amazing, and far beyond my skills. My workplace also has an annual competition at the time the show runs for the Stormwater Hottest Home Baker (yup, I work in stormwater engineering). I have no idea what the competition is like, but I’m told it varies wildly from incredible tasting to not so tasty but highly decorated and creative cakes. Apparently my boss even gets in on the act! Last year he created a bunt cake filled with blue jelly (jello) and modelled edible swimmers. Crikey! I’ve decided to go for the So-Incredibly-Delicious-It-Doesn’t-Need-To-Be-Pretty approach with my reliable standby, Death by Chocolate Pie. The original version of my pie, while delicious, is cheap and nasty, and evolved during my student days. I’ve decided to pimp it up with some slightly more sophisticated ingredients (eggs, real butter, expensive chocolate and hand made chocolate pastry) and a subtle hint of coffee. I am spectacularly happy with the results.
Unfortunately I am still getting the hang of my new oven (and its a horrid one) so will be buying an oven thermometer to help me out. I guess I’ve been spoilt with top notch ovens for the last 4 years. This oven seems to have a massive draft that makes the temperature fluctuate wildly, even when I don’t open the door, very strange. In this case though, I ended up with a perfect, uneven bake, which was lovely. A crisp meringue textured crust and an oozy, fudgey delight inside. My pastry was slightly overdone, but I blame that entirely on my hot hands. My hot hands tip is to stick your hands in an ice water bath before handling your pastry dough and to work quickly with the minimum handling of the dough.
You definitely want to try and eat this slightly warm, but its still very yummy cold the next day, if it lasts that long. And unfortunately, my little girl has a nasty tummy bug today, so I had to stay home with her. Which means I can’t enter the competition. Ah well, can’t let all that pie go to waste! 😉
Ingredients (for three itty bitty pies, double the ingredients for one very big pie):
115g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
75g cold butter cut into small pieces
15g caster sugar
around 3 tablespoons of cold water
baking beans or rice
175g dark sticky sugar (or substitute with light brown sugar, but replace a tablespoon of the sugar with strap molasses or treacle)
2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons of sieved cocoa powder
75g of good quality dark chocolate (I use Lindt 70%)
150ml single cream
1 tablespoon of black coffee
Sieve together the flour and cocoa powder twice until well blended. Cut or rub the cold butter into the flour mix until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Very carefully add your cold water bit by bit until you have a soft dough. You will need less water than you think, it needs to be just the damp side of crumbly. Stick the dough in the fridge for roughly 20 minutes to chill. While you’re waiting, grease those pastry tins, and make sure your oven is preheated to 190˚C or 370˚F.
Cut the dough into 3 equal portions, and press into your pie tins. You want to try get the pastry as thin and neat as possible. Remember, it will shrink, so its ok if it sticks out a little at the edges. Line with tinfoil and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake blind for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and tinfoil and bake for another 10 minutes.
Start melting the chocolate in a bain marie. While its melting, cream the butter and sugar. Once light and fluffy, gradually add the eggs and cocoa powder, alternating between the two. Add the melted chocolate, the coffee and the cream and beat till blended. Pour into your pastry cases and bake at 170˚C or 340˚F for 40 minutes. Dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar if you like. This is great warm and oozy with a side of good quality vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!