I thought I'd begin with my ol' faithful - French silk pie. It is one of those recipes that you can almost always make with what's in your pantry and, besides being a little labor intensive, the recipe itself is very simple. The recipe I use is from a church cookbook the moms of my brother's playschool class made in 1990 (the year I was born!). It's my brother's favorite and I make it every year for his birthday. It's a winner.
What you'll need:
1/2 cup margarine, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, 2 eggs, chocolate pie crust (I used a Keebler Ready Made crust, but if you feel like making your own pie crust go right ahead - just make sure it's cooled before you add the filling), 1 teaspoon vanilla (not pictured)
Cream together the sugar and margarine until fluffy. Don't skimp on this step! If you don't combine the sugar and margarine really well, it can make the pie gritty later from the sugar not being dissolved.
Melt the 2 squares of chocolate. Combine the melted chocolate with the sugar mixture.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 5 minutes after each. Now this is where all the magic happens. Even though 10 minutes of standing and beating gets old, this step is very important. The chocolate goo you made in the above step will turn into light brown, fluffy, rich French silk yumminess. "But, Hannah," you say, "don't you have a stand mixer?" Why, yes I do. "Then why don't you use that instead of beating with a hand mixer for ten minutes?" I'm so glad you asked! Although I have used the stand mixer with successful results, I have had disappointments using it on this recipe as well. The hand mixer yields much more consistent results. So face the boredom and discomfort, the end result is well worth it.
Add vanilla and scoop into pie shell using a rubber spatula. You can garnish the pie with Cool Whip, chocolate shavings, whatever suits your fancy. I prefer to leave my pie plain, have a couple garnishes on hand, and let everyone choose whether or not they want to top it with anything, as not everyone likes whipped cream. The pie is best served cooled - it holds its shapes a little better that way.
I was still full from dinner, so I only had a teeny slice tonight (with a little scoop of ice cream, because I didn't have any Cool Whip in the fridge).
A little tip if you decide to try this one out - it's okay if you want to set your margarine out a few minutes before you start mixing and let it soften a little, just so it's not rock hard, but don't let your eggs and margarine sit out for a long period of time before you get to work. If the eggs and margarine get too warm, the mixture won't get light and fluffy, and you'll just be left with a thin chocolate substance that does not make a pretty pie.
Now that I've filled myself up with pie, it's time to get under some covers! The pups beat me to bed by about three hours, so I'm going to go get cozy. It's so, so cold here - the heater is running full force and still cannot keep up. Happy Friday!