Somehow, putting food on my little corner of the internet has led to some ridiculously awesome opportunities. A couple of weeks ago, just before we went home to New Zealand, Rich and I flew to Madison, Wisconsin to visit the Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove headquarters! We toured their factory, which is like a crazy awesome real life version of ‘how it’s made,’ and learned all about the history of the company, and what goes into making their beautiful appliances. I have been a huge fan of their products for a while now - we had no gas in our apartment so I relied completely on the Wolf Gourmet counter top oven for all of our meals, as well as everything for the blog, for three months, and it legitimately saved my life. Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove make incredible refrigerators, cooktops, ovens, and now dishwashers (we got to preview the new Cove dishwasher!), so it was amazing not only seeing how they were made, but to meet some of the people behind the company.
Aside from touring the factory, a good chunk of our time was spent at the barn and organic garden, located on the company’s campus called Harvest Haven. Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove are committed to not only making quality appliances, but sharing their love for food with others at the Harvest Haven facility. The modern barn is beautifully built and houses one of the most kitted out kitchens I think I will ever see in my LIFE. Here we ate a whole range of incredible meals, paired perfectly with wines, while head chef Joel Chesbro led us through the whole cooking experience, sharing his knowledge and expertise with us.
Right outside the barn is the Harvest Haven garden, where all of the ingredients used to make the meals in the barn are grown. Chef Joel gave us an amazing tour of the garden - we were there just as the seasons were changing, so got to see the transition of ingredients used in the meals - the last of the tomatoes for the year, and the beginning of pumpkin season (including an 800 pound whopper they have grown ‘just for fun’). It is always so inspiring to eat food that is not only delicious, but thoughtfully prepared. I place huge value on preparing meals based on what is local and in season, and this couldn’t be a better example of that.
This Nutella French silk pie was inspired by the dessert we had on the last night at Harvest Haven. After yet another incredible meal, we finished off the night with a mind blowing French silk pie. It was actually the first time I had eaten French silk pie, and I knew immediately I was going to have to recreate it. It was made with a very dark chocolate, and was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of salt.
I started researching French silk pie as soon as I got home and was surprised to find that it wasn’t made in the way I was expecting at all - most recipes start with creamed butter and sugar, which raw eggs and melted chocolate are added to, before being folded through whipped cream to make a mousse situation which is then poured into a blind baked shell to set up. The result looks amazing in pictures, but I was concerned that the butter would take away from the taste of the chocolate, and I wasn’t entirely stoked at the thought of adding raw eggs (I love eating leftover pie, and leftover pie with raw egg doesn’t really do it for me), so I was on the look for a workaround.
I eventually figured that the eggs should be able to be tempered, and started the filling by making a sabayon from egg yolks and sugar, which is tempered over a water bath before being whipped up. I also wanted to incorporate Nutella, which gave me all sorts of other issues with seizing and the order ingredients were added, but it was 100% worth the eight recipe iterations it took to land on this - the PERFECT Nutella French Silk Pie. No raw eggs, just amazing, Nutella dark chocolate mousse pie, which is impossibly light and piled high with whipped cream and finished with chocolate curls and chopped hazelnuts. This one is going to be my new go-to back pocket recipe, and I hope it is yours too!
A few wee tips:
I have included a recipe for a blind baked pie crust, but you can use your favourite method, or a blind baked store bought pie crust will work too.
PLEASE follow the recipe for the filling carefully - things need to be weighed because it really does make a difference to how the pie turns out. Promise.
The filling will set up in about 4 hours, but give it overnight if you can.
If you can, add the cream just before you serve!
I used 90% chocolate for this - it will seem intense, but it will be totally balanced out by the Nutella and cream in the recipe, so don’t be put off. It mellows out.
I did a braid on the edge of my dough - I watched an online tutorial to make a five strand braid. If you want it to go the whole way round, it needs to be 29 inches long, alternatively you could braid in sections.
The dough recipe here makes enough for two standard crusts without the braid, so if you are just doing a crimped crust, you can use the other for another pie - it stores very well wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer.
If you want to cool your crust quickly, and it will pop out of the pie tin, I usually make sure that it is set, and then cool it outside of the tin on the rack. If this makes you nervous, cooling it in the pie pan is totally fine!
There are two quantities of cream in the filling - the first gets whipped up and used at the end, and the second is used to loosen the mixture before the addition of the Nutella.
Nutella French Silk Pie (Nutella and Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie)
- Makes one 9 inch pie -
2 1/2 cups (365g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Nutella Dark Chocolate Filling
360g heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g 85-90% dark chocolate, broken into chunks
80g egg yolks
2 Tbsp water
120g heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
360g heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Extra chocolate and chopped hazelnuts to finish (optional)
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs, or if you are braiding a border, shape one into a disc and one into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
BLIND BAKING PIE DOUGH
Preheat the oven to 450˚f / 230˚c, and position the racks in the bottom and middle of the oven.
Turn out one disc of dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out, turning the dough 90˚ every so often, until it is about 2-3 inches larger than your pie pan. Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 1/2 inches overhanging the edge of your dish. If you are going to have a braided border, tuck the overhanging dough under itself to neaten the edges, pressing it so that it sits flat on the edge of the pie tin. If you are going to add a crimp rather than a braid, crimp the edge of the pie as desired. Transfer to the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Remove the lined pie pan from the freezer, and line with aluminum foil, making sure that all edges of the pie are covered (you may have to use more than one piece). Fill the foil lined pie shell with dry beans ( I use a mix of chickpeas, kidneys and black beans), right up to the base of the crimps.
Place the bean filled pie on a baking sheet, and place on the lowest baking rack. Bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to go golden, then remove from the oven, and peel back the foil just enough to expose the crimp or edges of the pie. Brush with egg wash, and return to the middle rack of the oven for 7-10 minutes, until the edges of the pie are a deep golden brown, or brown enough for your liking. Remove from the oven, allow the beans to sit in the pie pan for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and allow the blind baked crust to cool completely.
NUTELLA CHOCOLATE FILLING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the 360g cream and vanilla bean paste until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and store in the fridge until ready to use. Wash and dry your stand mixer bowl.
Set up a double boiler situation - place a small pot filled with an inch or two over water and bring to a boil. Break the chocolate into a glass or metal bowl that fits over the pot, and place on top, letting the heat melt the chocolate. Stir frequently. Once all of the chocolate is melted, remove from the double boiler and set aside to cool.
In another metal or glass bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer (I used the metal bowl of my kitchen aid), combine the egg yolks, sugar and water, whisking well to combine. Place over your pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, and, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a candy thermometer. Transfer to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat the mixture on high speed for 7-8 minutes, until it has increased significantly in volume, and cooled to room temperature. With the mixer on low, slowly add the melted dark chocolate, mixing until incorporated and scraping down the sides as needed. Slowly stream in the 120g heavy whipping cream, and mix until well combined.
Add the Nutella and salt, and mix on medium until well combined. Remove the whipped cream from the fridge, and add the chocolate mixture to the cream. Gently fold it in, taking care not to deflate the cream too much, until well combined and homogenous in colour.
Scrape the filling into the blind baked crust, and smooth down with an offset spatula. Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
To finish the pie, whip 360g heavy whipping cream with the vanilla until stiff peaks, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used ateco #825). Pipe swirls of whipped cream on top of the pie. Alternatively, you can dollop the cream on and spread with an offset spatula. Finish with curls of chocolate made with a vegetable peeler, and chopped hazelnuts.
Thank you so much to Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove for Sponsoring this post and having me in Madison! All opinions are my own.