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French Silk Pie with Stabilized Whipped Cream

Every time my husband sees a French Silk Pie, or a picture of one, or even the name of it listed on a menu, he says, “oooooh, French Silk.”  After ten years of this, I finally decided it was time to make him one–and what better day than Valentine’s Day?  It is, after all, considered the most romantic pie to share by 27% of Americans.  (I acquired this tidbit of trivia from Village Inn restaurant, where it was noted in a bubble beside a picture of the pie…which I noticed after Dennis said “oooooooh, French Silk.”)

Both Dennis and I agree that this one was the best French Silk either of us has ever had.  Some I’ve had in the past had fillings that were thicker, more like pudding, but this one, although rich, is light and velvety and very chocolatey. The crunchy crust is nutty and a bit salty, which really complimented the sweet filling & whipped cream perfectly! My husband doesn’t like crust but actually enjoyed it for the first time in his life with this pie. I chose to top the pie with stabilized whipped cream since I needed to make it in advance and didn’t want the whipped cream to water out before we dug in.  This particular whipped cream can be made 24 hours in advance without watering out, so it is a nice recipe to keep handy if you need to make your whipped cream the day before serving your dessert.

Jean Webster’s French Silk Pie
Makes 1 nine-inch pie

8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan *
1/3 cup pecan halves
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Whipped cream, for serving (Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe follows)
Chocolate curls, for serving

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie plate; set aside. (I recommend using a deep dish plate–I used a regular one and had enough leftover crust & filling to make a second miniature pie.) Grind pecans in a food processor, or chop very finely with a knife. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pecans, sugar, and salt. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press firmly into prepared pie plate. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Mine took 25 minutes to cool completely.)

Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add melted chocolate and the vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed for five minutes after each addition. Pour filling into cooled pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream, and decorate with chocolate curls.

*I only had unsalted butter, so I added 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe, for a total of 1/2 teaspoon.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
from THE CAKE BIBLE by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 T powdered sugar
1 t cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 t vanilla

Refrigerate your mixing bowl and beaters for at least 15 minutes. (I always place mine in the freezer.)

In a small saucepan place powdered sugar and cornstarch and gradually stir in 1/4 c of the cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for just a few seconds (until liquid is thickened). (Mine thickened before it ever came to a boil.) Scrape into a small bowl and cool to room temperature. (I placed mine in the freezer, stirring every few minutes, to speed the process.) Add vanilla.

Beat the remaining 3/4 cup cream just until traces of beater marks begin to show distinctly. Add the cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, beating constantly. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

33 responses »

  1. That looks like French Heaven to me!
    I didn’t know about stabalized whipped cream. I learned something new today! ~ Thanks!

    Have a wonderful Valentines Day with your sweetie.


  2. Thanks, Melanie! We’re celebrating today (which is why we’ve already eaten half the pie–LOL!)~hope yours is wonderful as well.


  3. Wow Veronica!! This looks wonderful. I seen this already on your Myspace blog. I had to come on over to your other blog. Girl you are amazing with your desserts!!


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  5. Oh ……. i wish i had seen this jut a few min before when i sent hubby to the store, this is exactally what i have been looking for!!


  6. Oh my goodness, I want to eat this right now!! Yum!


  7. Oh my, this pie looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never made silk pie at home before but I have a feeling I will be giving this recipe a try quite soon!


  8. I’m making a strawberry cream tart for my best friend who is returning home after 8 months of studying abroad, but I’m worried about the whipped topping that goes on top of it. So I googled stabilized whipped topping and found your recipe here. It looks like a winner, but do you think the whipped cream will still be okay sitting on-top of my custard filling of the pie I’m making?

    I appreciate your input, and I’m totally saving this chocolate pie recipe – yum!


    • Your tart sounds fabulous! Yes, this whipped cream will be fine sitting on any type of filling, as long as it is cold when you put it on. If your filling will be hot, I’d refrigerate the tart until the filling is cold, then put on the whipped cream, and then refrigerated until ready to serve. If it needs to be added to something that should be served at room temp, I’d just make the whipped cream and store it in the fridge, then put it on right before serving.


  9. I made the cream – and it worked perfectly! It stayed stabilized and tasted great! Thank you so much :)


  10. Looks like a bit of Heaven!


  11. OOOOOHHH -French silk!! ;) -thanks for the tips on stabilized whipped cream!


  12. I am passing on a recipe to you for what I have been calling “stabilized” whip cream, which I have been using for years.
    The cream cheese in it helps it maintain its volume. You can add mocha chocolate powder, powdered coffee, undiluted orange juice, flavored liquors or syrups, and my latest experiment, 1/2 can boiled down and colled whole berry cranberry sauce. For your recipe,I will be using it with chopped oreos. I have combined all sorts of things with it, and it still holds its volume, and will build into beautiful swirls. Start small and build with subsequent recipes until you find the amount of whatever you are adding that doesn’t risk getting to liquidy. The basic recipe is:
    Stabilized whipping cream: 3 ounces package cream cheese
    1 cup whipping cream
    24 miniature marshmallows
    1/4 granulated sugar
    Soften cream cheese with a fork in a metal mixing bowl. Slowly add
    the whipping cream and stir until blended. Stire in marshmallows and sugar. Chill 4 hours. (Do not cover the bowl) Then whip mixture with an electric beater, (chill beaters in freezer) until thick. After applying to whatever dessert, put dessert back in the refrigerator. Must be refrigerated.


  13. Sorr–didn’t proofread–should say “cooled” not “colled”!


  14. ok–now I think the computer is making those errors–not me!!
    I do know how to spell. Sorry. We’ll see.


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  16. what brand of chocolate do you use for the french silk pie?


  17. No one mentioned the raw eggs, is that safe?


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  19. The pie looks divine and easy to make. Thanks for sharing recipe.


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  25. The chocolate remained grainy from sugar. Left filing in fridge overnight, still grainy, put back in kitchenaid and beat FOREVER still grainy. I even added more melted chocolate still a little warm. Ate a couple of pieces and tossed… Any suggestions? Can I use 10x instead, if so how much.. Taste is great but could not stand the texture of the sugar, after all it is a French SILK Pie. Lol. Thanks


    • How upsetting after all that work to have a grainy pie. The fix most likely is to just beat it until creamy the first time through. Follow directions exactly and if still grainy, which mine wasn’t so it shouldn’t be unless climate and altitude can affect something like this, then continue to beat until nice and smooth. I actually over beat mine so it was too fluffy but it wasn’t grainy at all.


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