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Steve Raichlen Would Be Proud: Smoked Chocolate Cream Pie

I’m actually not sure if Steve, renowned grillmaster, has ever come out with a recipe for smoked cream pie.  Knowing him, he probably does.  And it’s probably made on an actual grill than on an electric stove.

Either way, my MIL found this recipe in the local paper and while I prefer to do my recipe hunts on the web, this one was particularly intriguing.

What does smoked cream taste like?  Would it taste burned?  Can I smoke some nut flavor into it?

Answers: decadently rich reminiscent of goat cheese, no, not the way I did it

This is a sinful pie, made richer-tasting with the smoked cream.  Even in a 9″ pie pan, it makes at least 12 servings.  Then watch your visitors waddle away in happiness.

The store ran out of peeled hazelnuts and I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of peeling them.  But next time, I will incorporate some ground hazelnuts into the crust and put more on top instead of almonds.  I also used 2% milk and more heavy cream than the original called for.

Smoked Chocolate Cream Pie
adapted from Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami

We are unfortunate enough to have an electric stove, so we smoked hickory chips in a large Dutch oven fitted with a rack with the bowl sitting on top.  Beware of burns as Hubby has some nice battle scars.  I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder and Valhrona 72% dark chocolate – don’t skimp with Hershey’s and Nestle, now.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 split vanilla bean
2 T dark unsweetened cocoa powder

5 large egg yolks

10 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 T butter

Prebaked 9″ pie crust

Line stovetop smoker (or a roasting pan fitted with a baking rack and lid) with damp smoking chips and heat over low-medium flame.  When chips are smoldering, place bowl containing heavy cream and whole milk on rack and cover.  Reduce heat and infuse for 20 minutes or until cream is smoky.  (Err on the side of intensity: Adding chocolate will diffuse the smoky flavor.)

In a small saucepan, combine cream mixture with sugar, salt, vanilla bean, and cocoa powder.  Whisk over medium heat until simmering.  Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a small bowl.  Stir 1 cup warm cream mixture into yolks to temper, then add both back into the saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk constantly until temperature reaches 170 degrees.  Remove mixture from heat and pour through mesh strainer into bowl.  Whisk 10 oz. finely lchopped dark chocolate and 3 T butter into warm custard until well incorporated.  Pour mixture into a pre-baked 9″ pie crust.  Chill 3-4 hours or until set.  Serve topped with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts.


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