Tuesday evening I left my home in Oregon to take a red-eye flight across the county to “release” my Dad from the rehab facility where he’s been for the last couple of months. The folks there say that he has reached the goals that they had set for him and that he is ready to find another place to live. Trouble is, my Dad can’t really live alone right now and the “assisted living” place that we visited left much to be desired. So, in a few days Dad will come and stay with me for a while. I’ll share more about that at another time… suffice it to say that this will be a tremendous challenge for both of us.
In the time before I left, I really needed to spend some time making a pie. It’s my way of finding my “center.” One of my favorite types of pies is Chocolate Cream Pie and, in fact, the last two pies I have made were of this type. One pie was given to honor a new baby named “Chloe” (Congratulations to Carla and Brandon and big sister Sophia!) and the other was given to a family that I had learned was leaving the area after having been here for too short a time. They were moving back to the mid-west to be nearer to family and as I listened to their story, I heard a touch of sadness at the prospect of leaving and knew that a pie would help ease the transition. I mean, really, how could it not?
When I make chocolate cream pie, I follow a recipe much like this one (but mine uses a bit of half and half in addition to the milk). Once the filling is placed in the cookie crust (I use crushed Oreo’s or these by Newman’s Own), you must let it cool completely. To finish the pie, I begin by making sweetened whipped cream. Occasionally I will add a splash of Kahlua to the whipped cream instead of vanilla for a more scrumptious taste… but a spoonful of vanilla works just fine too.
Once the cream is whipped, I spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and then I pipe it onto the cooled pie. Now, here is where some folks differ in what should happen next. I think the pie looks fine as it is… but somehow I can never leave well enough alone. Instead, I prefer to top it with a pile of chocolate shavings or a drizzle of melted chocolate or even by topping it with chocolate covered espresso beans. Someone close to me refers to this habit of mine as “gilding the lily“. I’d love to know what you think!
The superfluous, a very necessary thing.