#22 : German Chocolate Pie
Something a little different
As a kid, I loved German Chocolate Cake; it was probably my favorite, which says a lot as I would, and did, eat pretty much any (and every) cake you put in front of me. Of course, what I usually made was...perish the thought...cake from a mix, most likely Duncan Hines Super Moist German Chocolate Cake, and some boxed coconut-nut frosting mix (even back then I avoided the revolting 'frosting in a can.') Years later I mentioned this to Jeff who said he'd always liked it too (German Chocolate Cake, that is, not the packaged cake mix or frosting). I then made German Chocolate Cake from scratch, a couple of times, and it was terrific. So I was excited to see a recipe for German Chocolate Pie in a library book Pies and Tarts, as seen below.
The book was published by the CIA. No...not the Central Intelligence Agency; the other CIA. Years ago, on a trip to Rhinebeck (in the Hudson valley), we stopped at Hyde Park (birthplace of Franklin D. Roosevelt) and had a great time exploring the town and visiting the Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA) where we watched apprentice chefs learning their craft. We had a truly amazing dinner there that night - it was so good we returned the next morning for breakfast! So I had high hopes for the book and this recipe in particular.
First step was to toast some coconut and pecans; it made sense to toast those together and let them cool.
After that came the crust. I decided to make it from chocolate animal crackers, ground in the food processor with a little sugar. To that I added melted butter, pressed it in the pie pan and baked it in the oven.
The filling was scalded milk, which I slowly poured into eggs and egg yolks, combined with sugar (I cut the amount back, of course), butter and melted chocolate. The filling then got poured into the cooled crust.
For the topping I combined the coconut, pecans and evaporated milk and poured that carefully over the filling, then chilled the pie for several hours.
Some trivia: Did you know that German Chocolate Cake is not German at all? The cake came about when Sam German, who worked for Baker's chocolate, developed a new, slightly sweeter chocolate than the bittersweet stuff usually used for baking, and a homemaker from Texas used that 'improved' chocolate to create the cake in 1957. Initially called German's Chocolate Cake in honor of the chocolate developer (that sounds better than Mrs. George Calay Chocolate Cake), the cake over the years lost its 's, and nowadays most of us think it originated in Germany.
The Verdict: "Not the best"
I thought this pie was "perfectly fine," which is damning with faint praise in this house. As is often the case, Jeff was less enthusiastic and said it was "mediocre." Over time, and possibly because it was the only pie we had in the house, we had a few more slices and bumped that up to "OK," but while the chocolate filling is very good, I still think the crust is rather bland and there just isn't enough coconut and pecan flavor going on. I could tweak the recipe and try to improve it...but maybe it's just not worthy...and I should just move on? This was the third pie Jeff was disappointed with (following the banana pudding pie and then the rhubarb cream cheese pie) so I figure I'd better step up my game and come up with something sensational next time.