Sunday, April 5, 2015


In the film, The Help, there's an infamous scene involving Minny's famous chocolate pie. The following is one of 53 chocolate pies newspaper columnist Lee Ann Flemming baked for actress Bryce Dallas Howard during the filming.

All Butter Pie Crust (one single)
1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons, cold unsalted butter
2 1/2 to 3 tbsp ice water, more or less
  1. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. 
  2. Dice one stick of very cold butter into 1/2-inch pieces. 
  3. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour, and using the pastry blender, cut butter into the flour. Make sure to work the pastry blender evenly over the mixture until the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas.
  4. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of ice water (not the ice) over the flour mixture. I find 3 tablespoons of ice water usually is enough but sometimes 1 or 2 additional tablespoons may be necessary BUT add 1 tablespoon at a time. It's always easier to add more water, then to try and repair a too wet dough. Using a rubber spatula, gather the dough together. Remember, you want just enough water for the dough to come together. Once you start to get large clumps with the spatula, use your hands to gather the rest of the clumps together into a single mound. 
  5. Place mound on a large sheet of saran wrap. Shape into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for one to two hours, before rolling out.
Prepare Crust:
  1. I find rolling out dough between two sheets of plastic makes the cleanup easier. Roll out dough into an 11-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge but leave a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang under and flute the edges. 
  2. Prick bottom of pie shell, then chill shell in freezer for 30 minutes. This will prevent shrinkage. 
  3. While shell is chilling, preheat oven to 350º F with a baking sheet in the middle rack. 
  4. Butter the shiny side of a sheet of an aluminum foil. Firmly line the frozen pie shell with the foil (buttered side down.) No pie weights necessary.
  5. Bake on baking sheet until pastry is set and edge is pale golden, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil, then bake shell another 5 minutes, just until crust is dry but not browned. Cool shell completely.

Minny's Chocolate Pie 
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving
  1. In a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and slat until smooth. 
  2. Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell and bake about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking. 
  3. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream. The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight. 

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