French Silk Pie

My bangs are sticking up every which way.  I politely decline to show you a picture of them.

There is a pile of (clean!) laundry that probs weighs 3 times as much as I do, sitting on the sofa, waiting to be folded.  I don’t want to be rude, but it may be waiting a long time.

In the shower, you will find 3 empty shampoo/conditioner/face wash bottles.  (I also have full ones, just want to be clear that I’m still clean.) The shower is clean, I promise…but why can’t I just throw away (recycle?) those bottles?  Too much effort, clearly.

But the kitchen.  The kitchen, I am proud to say, is clean.  Even my pie plate is clean.  In fact, a clean pie plate is all that remains of the French Silk Pie.

That is a sign of a darn good pie.

This was a birthday pie.  Have you ever made a birthday pie?  They’re as much fun as birthday cakes, I promise.  They’re an excuse to pile on the whipped cream.  And when else do you get to put sprinkles on pie?

Unfortunately, this was a birthday pie for someone who works at the TV station with the Weatherman.  I say unfortunately for 2 reasons: 1) I didn’t get a picture of a slice of pie, and 2) more importantly, I didn’t get to EAT a slice of pie.  But let’s be honest, I licked the filling bowl clean and I baked off the pie crust trimmings, so I can totes vouch for the deliciousness of the filling and the flakiness of the crust.

Have you ever even had French Silk Pie?  I only ask because before I made this, I never had.  Chris (the recipient of the pie) requested it because his mother used to make it for him…I hope it lived up to his memories!  It’s basically a luscious, glossy, sweet chocolate filling poured into a pre-baked pie crust.  Then you chill it until it firms up, and top it with fresh whipped cream.

Sometimes simple things are the best.  Actually, most of the time simple things are the best.  Like PB&J sandwiches!

One potentially sad thing about French Silk Pie: it contains raw eggs.  If you’re pregnant, very young, very elderly, or have a compromised immune system for whatever reason, you should probably not eat this pie.  If you’re not any of these things, you’ll be ok.  The risk of getting sick from eating raw eggs is actually pretty low, and it’s even lower if the egg-laying hens were raised in healthy, sanitary conditions.  Mark down one more point for cage-free, free-range, farm fresh eggs!  Real food victory!

Couldn't you just eat that filling with a spoon?

Final note, I promise, then you can go make the dang pie.  Don’t skimp on the beating time between adding each egg.  And don’t worry about how the mixture looks between each egg.  In the end, it will be glossy and fluffy and fine.  I adapted the Pioneer Woman’s French Silk Pie recipe, and she (as always) has gorgeous step-by-step photos here if you’re worried about how it looks!

French Silk Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie, serves 8-10

For crust (I love Martha Stewart’s all-butter pâté brisée recipe, but you can use your favorite crust recipe…you’ll only need 1 crust)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, frozen for at least 15 minutes
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS granulated sugar (I added this because I like a slightly sweet crust, but it’s not in her original recipe)
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water

For filling
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (you can also use unsweetened and increase the sugar to 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup (= 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups if you use unsweetened chocolate)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

1. For crust – Combine flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse 3 times to combine dry ingredients.  Add the butter all at once and pulse for 2 seconds, about 5 times, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  You should have pieces ranging from large crumbs to 1/2-inch across.  (You can do this with a pastry blender if you want.)

coarse crumbs

2. Turn the food processor on, and with it running, add 1/8 cup ice water in a steady stream.  Let the processor run for about 20 seconds.  If the mixture doesn’t look like fine crumbs that are JUST starting to come together as dough, add a little more water at a time and process for just a little longer.  (You can toss the water in with a fork, if you want.) When it looks like this, it’s time to stop:

finer crumbs. dough is coming together!

3. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press together with your hands into a ball, then press into a 6-inch disk.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.  (You can make the crust ahead and freeze for up to 1 month until you’re ready to use.)
4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled dough with a floured rolling pin to a 12-inch circle.  As your rolling, lift up the crust periodically to make sure it’s not sticking.  If it is, add a little more flour to the surface.  Fold the crust lightly into quarters (to make for an easy transfer), place it in your pie plate, then unfold.  Trim the overhang to about 1/4 inch, then tuck that overhang underneath the crust on top of the rim of the pie dish.  Crimp the edges with your fingers or press the edges down with the tines of a fork.
5. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with rice, dried beans, or coins.  You want enough to weigh down the crust so it doesn’t puff up when it’s baking.  Bake the crust for about 13-15 minutes.  Remove the parchment paper and the weights, and prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork.  Bake again for another 13-15 minutes until the edges are starting to turn golden and the bottom is a pale golden color.  If the edges are browning too quickly, just cover them with foil.  Let the crust cool completely.

all baked!

6. For filling – In a double boiler or a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until just melted and smooth (about 3 15-second intervals in the microwave).  Let cool.
7. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium-high speed for 2 more minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla and salt.  Add one egg and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl, add the next egg, and beat again for 5 minutes.  Repeat until all the eggs are added.  (Yes, you will beat the mixture for a full 20 minutes.)

finished filling

8. When the filling is fluffy and glossy, pour it into the cooled, baked crust and smooth the top.  Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.  Top the pie with whipped cream (either the whole pie or slice by slice) if desired before serving. (Whipped cream should always be desired, just FYI.)  Pie will keep, covered and chilled, for 1 day.

Recipe for crust adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook; recipe for filling adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Since I was sending the pie to work with the Weatherman, I sent the whipped cream in a separate container so it wouldn’t deflate on the pie…so no picture of cream-topped pie.  Sorry folks.

And as for my kitchen?  It will only be clean until I make some chocolate-strawberry crumb bars this afternoon…

Thanks for reading, happy baking!



  1. in regards to using raw eggs: i heard george bass’ eggs are the best to use. there are no pesticides, and he won the george bass award for eggs, awarded by the george bass foundation.

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