About Me

My photo
I am a wife, mother, teacher, runner, baker, fund-raiser, reader, watcher of movies, dog-lover, writer, music-lover and foodie. So - I'm a woman of many moods! I write and share in order to teach and enrich. I currently have two blogs going: The Kitchen Refugee, and A Mile At A Time. The first is about time spent in the kitchen and the second about time spent on the road. Frequently the two roads intersect!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm not Julie OR Julia!

I am so in love with the movie, Julie and Julia, I could honestly marry it.  I don't know what it is exactly, but perhaps it's just the simple notion that food can soothe the weary soul.  We all have our go-to comfort foods, and even certain foods for certain emotional occasions.

I can so identify with writer, Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) and how she takes solace in Chocolate Cream Pie.  To borrow a quote from the movie:
"You know what I love about cooking? (What's that?) I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say nothing, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick.  It's such a comfort!"

Oh, yes, Julie, it is indeed a comfort!
In my current life of un-sureness, the sheer magic of combining ingredients for the greater good just sets my motor to a gentle hum. It is a comfort.

I currently have Fridays off as I'm working 4/10's with the City of La Grande as a temporary grunt laborer.  I spend my work days running a weed whacker, painting fire hydrants or even spreading soil with precision in prep for lawns of perfection.  I do so with a heavy heart, missing the class I was supposed to be teaching this year, worrying about how they're managing all mashed together in one big class all in the name of saving money.  Budgets: Ba-Humbug!  By the end of each day I look like the Charles Schultz character, Pigpen, and the brooding lines are heavy on my dirt-caked forehead.  But Fridays are mine.  Brian is at work, and although I look forward to our weekends together,  Fridays are the days I can really commune with the kitchen.

Today was a day that surely called for Chocolate Cream Pie!  I put myself back on the substitute teaching list, and tried to make peace with how this year is going to go.

I did an internet search for "Julie and Julia Chocolate Cream Pie" and found many recipes that claimed to be 'it.'  Finally, genious that I am, I had the bright idea to become more specific, and looked up Julia Child's Chocolate Cream Pie, and voilà!  I found a recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, April, 1994.  I think this is the one.

Just to warn you, this is no ordinary puddin'-pie!  It's a giant custard of delicious, creamy, comfort.
Now, I don't know who they're kidding with the pie-plate measurement.  The recipe calls for a 10" pie plate.  As I was mixing the crust I knew it would never fit, so I transferred it from my brimming pie plate into a spring-form cheesecake pan.  Crisis averted.  No crises allowed in this chocolate-therapy session!

Chocolate Cream Pie
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 TB butter
1/3 cup sugar (I left this out)

I have more success pressing a crust into a spring form pan by using the bottom of a measuring cup. It's nice and flat, and the roundness of the side allows you to press the crust against the side of the pan.

Bake the crust at 350º for 15-20 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (as high a quality as you wish - I just used chocolate chips!)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
6 large egg yolks
4 1/2 cups milk (2% or whole - don't skimp - save skinny pudding for another day!)
3 TB unsalted butter, cut into cubes, and softened
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract

In a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the chocolates and stir until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the heat.
Chocolate before...


and after.

In a heavy saucepan (that can hold 3 quarts) whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks until just combined.  *I had a hard time with this, and had to add 1 cup of milk to get it to 'whisk' rather than form a hard ball.*  Add the rest of the milk, while whisking.  Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate mixture, butter, and vanilla.  Pour into prepared crust and cool completely.   Cover the surface with wax paper or plastic wrap to avoid the formation of 'pudding skin.'
Custard mixture 
mmm...nice and thick!
                                                             A match made in heaven!

I now pronounce you Pie and Crust.  
You may now lick the bowl!

Top with whipped cream and let the day melt away!

Chill for at least 6 hours before serving.  For being a pudding filling, this is really almost fluffy.  A most delightful, if not spectacular dessert!

In the spirit of  my 'Cook, Eat, Share' motto - we had both our moms over for dinner, and had enough Chocolate Cream Pie to send them each home with some.  Then I took a nice big chunk to my friend, Celine (I waited until after she'd put the kids to bed).  Her husband has just been deployed to Iraq, so if anyone needs some comfort pie - she does!  We had a nice, chocolatey visit.

I was smiling to myself as I thought about Julia Child's signature catch phrase, Bon Appétit!  When my daughter was in Montessori preschool, before having snack the teachers would say, "Bon Appétit, it's time to eat!"  Alli's classic misinterpretation was, "Bone up your teeth - it's time to eat!" :-)

For more recipes or movie trivia, go to:


  1. Karen: First of all, it is 2:00 am here in Florida, and my dashboard says you posted this three minutes ago. You are up too late on Friday night! Be careful. You'll become a blogaholic like me.

    Nevertheless, I love to cook, which is unbelievable with my background. I grew up in an old school Italian family, where the men never stepped foot in the kitchen. About fifteen years ago, I left a teaching position to write, so I was home all day while my wife was working. On the first day of this new role reversal, my wife walked through the door about 5:30 pm and I promptly said, " I'm so glad you're home. I'm starving. What's for dinner"? Now, even I am not Chauvinistic enough to endure a comment like that. My wife just gave me "the look." I was smart enough to realize I had to learn a new skill, and I am proud to say I am still a long-time, happily married man.

    I took a two-year cooking course, and it has resulted in another hobby for me that doubles as therapy in stressful times. I just thought I would share the story with someone who understands the "Joy" of cooking.

    Be well.

  2. I can see Jake saying.."Bone up your teeth, it's time to eat!" that may be my new favorite saying. Your pie looked very tasty! I wish I was your neighbor:)