Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chocolate Almond

Lest you think I'm a professional baker, a semi-professional piemaker, or even a somewhat trained person who belongs in the kitchen for any reason, I present to you...this week's pie...


I was getting cocky. Too much success can be a bad thing, apparently. I thought I could just use ground up almonds in place of some of the flour and use the rest of the ingredients as per usual. I thought it would give the dough a delightful crunch and lovely texture. Yeah, right. Um, spiker, almonds have OIL in them. Uh-huh. And a texture that is very different from flour and doesn't really bind together with fats like flour does. Interesting. And yet another reason why I need to take a Food Science class. There was no amount of flour that could have been added to this dough to make it roll out and then allow me to pick it up and move it to the pan. Believe me, I tried.

So I resorted to putting the mound in the pie pan and just pushing and prodding it around until it seemed the right thickness. It looked promising. Then I cooked it for 15 minutes. At which point it started cracking. *shrug* I give.

It's a good crust, IN THEORY. But I think I have to concede that a nut crust should be like a cookie crust--crumbly stuff combined with butter and sugar and pressed into the pan. I guess I'll have to find a recipe like that.

But that, my friends, was only the beginning. I had the gall to try a new pudding recipe. Barefoot Contessa...I don't know where to start. You have given me one excellent cake recipe that I appreciate (although, the baking temperature wasn't actually printed in the book, but I adapted). Aside from that...*sigh*. In fairness to her and this recipe, I confronted it at the end of a very long day of cooking and other activities that take place at my kitchen counter.

Please witness the fruitcakes and homework in the background of the picture above. I had spent much of the day on various cooking projects (including dinner) and had washed easily 40% of the cookware/tools in my kitchen. I was tired. This is not the state in which one should attempt a new pudding recipe. But, in fairness to me, there are a couple of problems with this recipe. To start with, milk is not thick enough to pour SLOWLY from anything, let alone a saucepan.

What it actually does is dribble down the side of the pan until it's trickling from the bottom directly onto the counter, not into the bowl where you intended for it to end up. In the final cooking directions it says "IF mixture begins to curdle, remove from heat and whisk vigorously" (emphasis mine). There was no IF about it. I was whisking all along. There was no warning that the mixture would suddenly and shockingly congeal into a solid curdled disgusting irretrievable mass in a matter of one second, where in the previous second it was not even a little bit thick. I did remove from heat. I did whisk vigorously (in spite of my fatigue). No help. I added milk hoping to thin the whole thing out a little. No. Added the rest of the ingredients. Now there's just more stuff in the mass. Pudding is not my friend. Even though I have made two pies that involve pudding-esque fillings. With much greater success. This recipe is not my friend.

A chocolate pie should really be simpler than this. But I refuse to use instant pudding. Or gelatin. So, don't suggest them.

Anyway, I thought some toasted almonds in bottom of the pie (between crust and filling) would be delicious. It was just overpowering. I couldn't taste the chocolate in the "pudding" at all. We each ate a few bites and dumped the rest in the disposal. Oh yes, we actually did. It was that bad.

Doubt not, there will be more attempts at an easy chocolate pie. Involving homemade pudding. The trauma of this one may cause me to wait a while before I make one of those attempts, however.

Pie Rating--Chocolate Almond--NO, for the love of god, NO

Next up: Revised Pumpkin--I've gotten a couple of suggestions of ways to alter the original Libby's recipe. I'm going to try some of these (and then hand the pie off to my parents--along with my children--so mr. and I can go to Vegas for the weekend to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary!).


Heidi said...

As promised:

I'm so sorry!! :( :( :( :( :(

John Graham said...

Were the almonds in the crust toasted or raw?

April Fossen said...

They were raw.

pinky said...

How about (after a brief respite and you're in the mood)...a chocolate mousse recipe for the filling (which would not be baked) spooned (not poured) into a pre-baked almond-ish crust? (Toasted almonds are always wonderfully flavorful) Sounds good in theory. Sorry you had such a time of it. It may be of some comfort to consider how many tries Edison made before success with the lightbulb.