If I can make pie, so can you

Published 8:12 am Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving is time a of the year to give thanks for what you have. Doing so reminds you of what you don’t have. This was our first holiday without my mother-in-law Joyce and of course when I look around the table at my children it always makes me miss my late husband, David. This year would be different for another reason also, Holly and Emily would not be here with us.

This year Holly decided to stay in Atlanta for the week of Thanksgiving. It is a long drive, especially for someone who will soon be home for several weeks. Also, I knew her boyfriend wasn’t going to be able to make it home to Dallas for Thanksgiving, so they would celebrate the holiday together with other friends. Then Emily decided what she wanted for her birthday was to spend her week out of school in Atlanta with Holly.

Now things were beginning to look slim for Hall house. We have never had a holiday dinner with just three people.

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Fortunately we were saved by friends. The Farmers, Henry and Marla along with Gary and Liz, invited us to their gathering for the holiday. They too had recently lost a mother and grandmother so they understood how my father-in-law Bobby felt.

About two weeks before Thanksgiving I talked to Marla to find out what I could bring to the gathering, and I have to admit I was feeling confident.

Even knowing that there was going to be some serious holiday cooking going on, I figured I could hold my own. So, imagining all the side dishes, desserts, turkey and dressing recipes I have, I almost choked when Marla said, “We’ve got so much. What we really need is a pecan pie and a chocolate pie.”

Pies, are you kidding me, pies, the one thing I never make. As soon as I got through assuring Marla that was fine and I could handle it, I got busy hunting for recipes. I discovered that the best recipe for pecan pie would be the one made with Karo syrup. So I went with that.

For the chocolate pie, that took a little more research. All my life I heard my grandmothers talk about how hard it was to get a chocolate pie to set up. So with a little help from a product that I use all the time, I found the following recipe. It was rich and creamy and set up beautifully. I did break down and make my own pie crust, but you could just as easily use one from the grocery.

I figure now that I have these two figured out I better start on two new ones for next year.

Chocolate Cream Pie

1 baked pie shell

1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate

2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate

1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whipping cream

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt chocolate with the condensed milk and salt. Cook and stir until very thick and bubbly, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the water and egg yolks, cook and stir rapidly until the mixture thickens and bubbles again. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Cool 15 minutes. Chill thoroughly, about 30 minutes; stir.

While the chocolate mixture is chilling, in a mixing bowl, beat 1 cup whipping cream until stiff; fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into your baked pie shell. Chill three hours or until set. Spread top with additional whipped cream (optional).

Christina Hall can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.