Sunday, 5 June 2011

Chocolate Mini-Pies (and why they don't make you fat)

I like small meals, small foods, anything you can nibble at. I don't always need a big slice of cake or a jumbo bowl of ice cream. Honestly, I find the super-sized food phenomena a bit off-putting. On the other hand, I adore petit-fours, truffles and miniature cakes. You feel like you should be feeding them to elves and other magical creatures. Of course it takes a lot of time to make these treats, more time than most of us are willing to spend on a regular week day. Having said that, one of my favourite cakes takes over 3 hours to make, but it's worth it. I've seen the looks on people's faces when they take their first bite. Conversations stop, eyes close, and all you hear is a unison "mmmm" across the room. Like I said, it's worth all the effort and time. 
However, when I came home from work on Friday I didn't have hours and hours on end to devote to baking, but I knew I wanted something really yummy. I looked at recipe after recipe. There were a few tempting cakes, but nothing jumped out at me. Then I came across the recipe for chocolate mini-pies. Yes!
The first time I made them I must have been about 14 years old. My uncle was coming over for dinner and I was in charge of dessert. When I carried the pies in to the living room,  in a beautiful wooden tray, my uncle just shock his head and said that all my boyfriends would be really, really fat. Happy, but fat. Not that this observation stopped him from eating any of the pies, quite the contrary. 

What I love about these pies it that the shell is crispy and crumbly, yet the filling is as soft as velvet. In other words, a killer combination. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do. 

Chocolate Mini-Pies

Makes about 20-25

125 g soft butter
125 g sugar (I like to use the soft brown sugar, but any kind will do)
500-600 g flour, approximately 
50 g grounded almonds
1 egg

100 g soft butter
100 g sugar
1 egg and one egg yoke 
1 dl whipping cream
250 g melted chocolate
Pinch of salt 

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix butter and sugar together until it's soft and well blended. Mix in the flour, almonds and the egg. Now you should have the equivalent of a regular pie dough. Soft and easy to work with, neither too sticky or at all crumbly. That is why the amount of flour is approximately. Add enough until you have the desired consistency.

Roll the dough into small bowl and press them into the pie molds. The molds do not need to be greased or lined with baking paper. 

Bake the pies for 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Let them cool, then gently release the pies by gently squeezing the molds and turning them upside down . 

While the entourage of pies bake in the oven we make the filling. 

Melt chocolate over low heat, add a tablespoon or two or water to the pan. Then mix together butter and sugar, just as you did with the dough. Add the egg and salt. Next whip the cream until soft and fluffy. Now, add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture, then you gently fold in the whipped cream. Put this delightful filling in a piping bag and fill the pie-shells to the top. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. 

FYI:  Eat all the chocolate you want, just keep an eye on the ingredients and the expiration date. Any cake or cookie that have a shelf life over 2 weeks is filled with preservatives that arecompletely foreign to the human body. We are not meant to digest paraffin, plastic, artificial sweeteners and things like E249 to E252. Personally I try to avoid any food containing preservatives that I:

a) can't pronounce 
b) don't know what is
c) have no idea how to use

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