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French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie

I’ve had french silk pies before, but I’ve never had one like this. The concept of a french silk pie is that it is a chocolate mousse set up in a pie crust, the smooth texture of the mousse providing the “silk” part of the pie. Most pies that are sold under this name are relatively dense and chocolaty affairs. Chocolate is the first thing you notice when you bite into a piece, not “silk,” and the texture is generally only light thanks to a generous amount of whipped cream.

This french silk pie is all about the silk. The texture is amazingly lightly, so smooth it’s almost as though you’re eating some crazy hybrid of chocolate ice cream and air because it is served cold and melts almost instantly on your tongue. Amazing is a very accurate descriptor here and, now that I’ve had this version of french silk, I don’t think I’ll ever look at the other variety in the same way again.

The recipe is another Pillsbury Bake-Off winner, a runner up (and $1,000 best-in-class winner) in the 3rd annual competition in 1951. You need a baked pie crust – I’d recommend a traditional, flaky crust over a graham cracker one simply because the crunchy graham crust will dominate the texture of the dessert – but the filling involves no cooking at all. Butter, sugar, chocolate and eggs are whipped up to an impossible lightness with an electric mixer. The chocolate flavor is not intense, but it is lovely, and you can always garnish the pie with shavings of chocolate if you want to boost the flavor for serving.

Make sure all your ingredients, especially the eggs, are at room temperature before beginning to ensure you get maximum volume. This recipe does contain raw eggs, so if you’re uncomfortable with that, either try using pasteurized eggs or try another recipe. If you decide to give it a go, I guarantee that you won’t regret a single bite of it.

French Silk Pie
1 9-in. pie crust, baked and cooled
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-oz semisweet or bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate and vanilla extract.
Add in one egg and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes (I prefer the paddle to the whisk if you’re using an electric mixer). Scrape down sides of bowl. Add in the second egg and beat for an additional five minutes. Mixture should be very light and smooth.
Pour into pre-baked pie crust and smooth with a spatula.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, until firm.
Serve cold, with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.

Makes 1 pie. Serves 8.

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24 Comments
  • Ellie @ Kitchen Wench
    April 11, 2008

    Sounds delightful, I know what to make for my next dinner party!

  • Katie
    April 12, 2008

    The tart sounds wonderful. The perfect after dinner dessert

  • Schufafrei
    April 12, 2008

    I like the french silk pie.I also like its smooth texture too.

  • AkiraSabine
    April 13, 2008

    Hmm..I’m already drooling by simply browsing your blog. Thus, by linking to you I can drop by and drool whenever I feel like it.

  • Katie
    April 13, 2008

    Have you ever had this recipe fail? I made this pie a couple of weeks ago, except in my recipe, all the ingredients were doubled. It still called for 5 minutes beating after each egg, so the total beating time was 20 minutes. My filling ended up runny and not airy at all. Maybe my chocolate was not cooled enough? I was not aware the eggs should be at room temperature, so they were cold. Do you know what I might have done wrong?

  • Nicole
    April 13, 2008

    Katie – Doubling this recipe isn’t something I’ve tried, so I can’t speak to that, but having the eggs at room temperature is crucial for a good result. The proteins in eggs – which give the filling structure and lightness – are very tight when they are cold and don’t fluff up and stretch as easily. You’ll definitely get more volume and a better result with room temperature eggs.

    I’d try the recipe again without doubling it and with room-temperature eggs to see if you get a better result. If so, try increasing the recipe by half and then doubling it. Overbeating of the eggs could cause it to collapse a bit, too, so you might actually need a bit less beating time with a doubled filling.

  • Katie
    April 13, 2008

    Thanks 🙂 I’ll keep this in mind if I try it again!

  • I just printed this off. Sounds lovely!

  • Harimau
    April 28, 2008

    Hi,

    The recipe states 1 oz of chocolate… Is that actually the case? 1 oz is only equal to 28 grams, which is around one or two bites of chocolate! Is that right?

  • Jeanmarie skahan
    July 28, 2008

    I love this recipe. Served this for my inlaws and it was a big hit.

  • Dawn
    November 22, 2008

    I am just curious but, is no one worried about the raw eggs? In all the reicpies for french silk pie none of them are baked!
    Is that right?

  • Lisa
    November 24, 2008

    Dawn,
    I was surprised to see raw eggs too, but i’ve looked at a lot of recipes and it seems thats the way to get the fluffiness.

    I did find one recipe that used unflavored gelatin instead of eggs but it had very bad reviews!

    I’m going for this one!

  • Jen
    December 2, 2008

    I tried this pie and it turned out runny. I didn’t try the eggs at room temp but next time i will try that. I also didn’t melt the butter which seemed to make it a little thicker but it still never set up like it was suppose to

  • Katie
    February 21, 2009

    So here I am, almost a year later, still searching for the problem to my silk pie failures 😀 I had completely forgotten about this conversation and again went back to the recipe that calls for double the ingredients. I did make sure the eggs were at room temperature this time, but there was no difference. I think I will give it one more shot with your recipe (the other recipe is doubled, with twice [4 oz.] chocolate).

    I have no reservations against raw eggs when I buy them directly from a farm where the chickens run free. Eggs from that type of chicken are extremely unlikely to be contaminated.

  • Anna
    March 13, 2009

    I made the Cooks’ Country version yesterday. It was good, but I think I’d like to try this one too. Interestingly, the CC version uses 8 times the chocolate. It also has a cup of whipped heavy cream thrown in

  • ashley h
    November 22, 2009

    this recipe is the best pie recipe in the world its so so so good and crazy addictive

  • Kerry
    November 25, 2009

    I have this exact same recipe in a ‘hand-me-down’ family cookbook, labeled “Grandma’s French Silk Pie” – I am amused to find it was actually a Bake-Off winner 🙂 Kudos to Grandma though this is totally easy to make. Mine is chilling in the fridge right now, we’ll see how it turns out tomorrow!

  • Darrell
    December 8, 2009

    On the dbl recipe problems with Katie, Dont dbl the time. Just add 2 eggs then mix for the 5 minutes or until light. 5 minutes varies from mixer to mixer depending on the speed so just watch for the “Fluff” to start then add the second set of eggs. The thing with eggs is once they are “over beaten” they will not return. Think of it as making a meringue for a pie. After too much time in the mixer the eggs separate and leave all the lovely liquid on top of your pie.
    If you want a safety to this recipe then dissolve a package of knots gelatin in 1/4 cup cold milk then add this to the mix with the last batch of eggs. Do this until you get the mixing time right and the pie gets firm for you. Then you can delete the gelatin.

    Hope this helps.
    D

  • julien
    January 28, 2010

    Funny to know that this kind of pie doesn’t exist in France.
    So why this is called French pie then ?

  • Debbie
    December 6, 2010

    I have been eating this pie for almost fifty years and the raw eggs have not been a problem.

    My recipe calls for 3 T cocoa instead of melted chocolate. It’s easier and less messy! and it still tastes heavenly.

    As far as the filling being too runny: I often use margarine because I don’t always have butter, and I find that if I use a margarine with a too-high water content, the filling will be runny.

  • Ryan Cafferty
    December 11, 2010

    Pure heaven! I agree that it’s crucial not to overbeat your eggs. To the person who doubled unsuccessfully: double the eggs, not the time! Simply add them two at a time, rather than the prescribed one, and keep the beating time of five minutes the same. Also, room temperature is absolutely crucial for this recipe.

    I procure my eggs and dairy from my local Amish market, as I have for over twenty-five years. I never worry about raw eggs from such a source and haven’t been let down at all.

    Thanks for this delightful, crowd pleasing recipe!

    -Ryan

  • Chris
    December 30, 2011

    Hello,

    Found this recipe while I was looking for why the eggs are in the pie…

    I make these pies every year for thanksgiving and christmas and my family loves ’em. I DO in fact make a doubled recipe most of the time, and when I do I still beat for 5 minutes. Usually at a bit slower speed, super fast. I also add the vanilla in last and only beat it fold that in right at the end.

    A stand mixer is a must!

  • Chris
    December 30, 2011

    Oh, one last note, Hershey’s makes these packets of semi-sweet premeltd chocolate. 1 pack = 1 square of chocolate = 1 ounce of “flavoring”

    BTW, if you REALLY want a nice chocolate taste, up it to 2 packs of chocolate or 2 squares, that’s what mine calls for and it’s amazing!

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