French Silk Pie: Fail.

And I do believe my pie crust is flipping me off.

Do you think it’s pissed that I couldn’t make a really great filling for it’s delicious flakiness? Or is it that I caught it’s bad side, under bad lighting, and crappy styling? Any or all I guess.

I had such high hopes for this recipe. French Silk Pie is one of those deliciously sinful pleasures of the palate that is reserved only for special occasions—occasions such as say, a kid’s birthday party (or hell, an adult’s for that matter), or Valentine’s Day…whatever your event of choice may be. When done right, each bite truly *is* silky smooth and chocolaty heaven. Well, my friends, that was not the case this time. I don’t know what in the Sam Hill I did wrong…I followed the recipe to the letter, but that sucker just did not set up! It was French Silk Soup.  Gawd, even the whipped cream was flat and sad.  Sam didn’t care—he just ate it with a spoon. hehe The adults didn’t care either, really. I just passed out spoons to everyone, and we had chocolate soup instead of pie. Can anyone tell a baketard what I did wrong?  Oh, and the photos don’t help matters either…I took the pics on the fly, under the stove light at night.  Talk about your all around fail. lmao  I am not daunted, however.  I *am* going to figure out what I did wrong and make this again…because life is just too short to not include French Silk Pie.  Even if it *isn’t* a special occasion.  Please help a girl out! :)

This recipe is Kristin’s from The Kitchen Sink.  I’m sure the problem lies with me, and not her recipe—I mean look at hers!  It’s gorgeous!  Beautifully thick and perfectly able to stand up to slicing.

30 Responses to “French Silk Pie: Fail.”

  1. How humid is it there? I find the humidity in Florida makes all of my baking a bit more challenging! This looks good to me. I would eat it with a spoon without a thought!

  2. I’m not the one to ask for advise… your silk pie is light years ahead of my kitchen (eventhough didn’t come out as expected). Judy raises a good point… what about humidity? What about the molde? Using water in it? maybe mineral water would have been better?

    Wish you better luck for the next one Nikki! Enjoy the weekend darling?

  3. mmmm… French Silk soup… my favorite :)

    I have no answers for you. I suck at pies. See my post today… I’m totally crust challenged. But at least I can make a filling. Just kidding of course dear :)

  4. Aww, there, there Nikki :( I’m sure it was delicious still.
    Actually the amount of milk seems a little high to me for the number of egg yolks, but that’s just because I’m basing it on the creme patisserie recipe in my head– not the same thing. Maybe you did not boil it enough– cornstarch needs quite a bit of heat to activate its thickening power, then after a certain point it will break down. (at least I think so– I’ve forgotten if I’m talking about something else re: deactivation.)
    You can do it Nikki!

  5. Oh no! Where did it go wrong? On the stove? I’m shocked it wouldn’t stand up even with a whole quarter cup of cornstarch. That said, your crust looks incredible!

  6. Judy and Núria, the humidity was my first thought, too…we are huuuuuumid here in the islands.

    RG. Har. Har. lmfao Crust = easy. Filling = hard. Totally kidding of course. It actually was damned good.

    Mark, thanks for the shoulder to cry on! ;) I did wait for the cs to do its job…it just never did. (there’s a thought—bum corn starch!! lmao) I thought maybe it’d thicken in the fridge, but nope.

    Kristin, I am positive it wasn’t your recipe that didn’t work, but my own error—I was thinking that it wasn’t thick enough to be able to set up properly, but then thought, “WTF do I know about making this? Zip. Nada.” I WILL be making this again—going to play with the cornstarch ratio. :) The taste? OMFG. Out of this world delicious. Thank you for inspiring me! :D

  7. How bizarre but then chocolate soup can’t be bad…

  8. even though you considered that a fail… my marriage proposal still stands

  9. creo q

  10. creo que Mallorca tiene agua mas buena..(estuve 2 anos) he oido las Canarias casi no tiene… y pense que es mas como desierto alli… no te tortures demasiado :-) sopa, torta, …

  11. It’s totally flipping you off.

    Since I have no advice, being a total baketard myself (and you YOU are NOT a bad baker), I just wanted to tell you I linked to your page today through the comment box on List of the Day, who I visit daily. I saw your comment on the “what one skill would you want to have” post and I was like… canarygirl? Is that Nikki?? Funny.

  12. Baking is an exact science…that’s why I tend to go for recipes that allow for easy alteration. I can only suggest it had to do with the cream you used. Was it room temperature? Hmmm…look forward to your next version.

  13. No answers but I feel your pain, brave girl. Hey at least it still tasted delicious!

  14. I have to agree with Manggy…I think it had to do with cooking the cornstarch..either not enough or to long. I love the crust though…I cannot make a good shortcrust…

  15. Hi Nikki, The pastry for the Chez Panisse almond tart on David Lebovitz’s blog is unwreckable and very easy. Try it and let me know!

  16. Here’s the thing: it still looks delicious. When I have a total flop in the kitchen (like a pie which would not set) I’m such a scoundrel that I just give it a different spin. “Hello valued guests that I adore! For dessert I made you a very special French Chocolate Cream Soup served in softened pastry shells. Because I care.”

  17. i’ve never made or eaten a french silk pie, but i would like to know your secret for creating a sassy crust… :)

  18. Hey baketard I’ve never made French silk, I wanted to see a picture of the soup though. This cracked me up.

  19. For the failure that pie turned out it still looks awesome and that crust looks to die for. I just got a new recipe for pie crust from a friend who I`ve been hounding for years for and it too is awesome. I`ll send you mine if you send me yours!!!

  20. I’ve had this problem with corn starch — it sets up and then it unsets. Once it unsets, there’s no bringing it back. I’m not sure why it happens, but I think it has to do with cooking it too long and stirring too much. My suggestion would be to stir minimally, just to keep the filling from sticking to the bottom and cook for only a minute or so after it’s come to a boil… just long enough to cook off the raw taste. Alternatively, you could finish cooking it in the oven so there’s no worry of over-stirring.

  21. Hmm. Not sure what went wrong, but I am sure it tasted good anyway!

    My only guess is that, perhaps, you used small egg yolks instead of large?

  22. Dear Nikki oh my dear all have fails!! I dont know why and this disturb me!! when I dont know what happen!! I remember a cake was so streessed I have to take the Cake to exactly time and the cream this was the problem the cream (was hot here) I dont remember how I make, maybe I garnish with nuts!! Inside the Cake was amazing Imsure but the people love how look!! Well think dear we make all natural in Bakeries or similar used quimicals things to do all!! besoossss y no pienses màs (eres obsesiva con estas cosas????) yo un poquito!!! Gloria

  23. I know it tasted delicious no matter what Nikki. Don’t be so hard on yourself…it was the cream, the humidity, the altitude…..just think of all the successes you have had in the kitchen:D

  24. i made a butterscotch pudding and it was soupy. not that long ago. and i was pi-issed. cause i really tried…

    no idea what the problem was but i’m glad your crust came out well. i suck at crust. big time. the flippin you off thing was funny…

  25. LOL @ baketard!

    That’s why I don’t bake. Nope! I can’t do it and it’s okay because there are many other things that I can do well…I think – lol.

    I’m with you on the flakes…but with this great picture – how could this be anything but great tasting?


  26. I think you may have overcooked the cornstarch. Basically you’re making a pastry cream or creme anglaise. I had a similar problem when I first started making chocolate pastry cream, but I solved the problem by not boiling the egg and cornstarch mixture “vigorously”. Here’s how I ended up making my chocolate pastry cream:

    1) Thoroughly combine cornstartch and egg yolks in a bowl. I use an immersion blender to get it really smooth.

    2) Combine milk, sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil.

    3) Reduce heat to low.

    3) Temper the egg mixture by adding about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture, making sure to whisk the mixture vigorously while adding the milk.

    4) Add the tempered egg mixture to the simmering milk mixture, whisking all the while. Increase the heat to medium and keep whishking until the mixture starts to thicken to desired texture.

    5) Remove from heat and combine the butter, chocolate, and vanilla, again stirring well. I use an immersion blender for all of this and find that I don’t have to strain the mixture.

    6) Cover the mixture. I use plastic wrap and poke a few holes with a knife to allow the steam to vent.

    Refer to “The Pastry Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum for further techniques on making pastry cream. I used it as a basis and tweaked the chocolate balance to my taste. I’ve been getting spectacular results ever since, and best of all, no more “chocolate soup”!!!

  27. Well it LOOKS beautiful to me… I cannot say what you did wrong. But chocolate in any form is delish!

  28. Ok, I think I’ve figured this out! I saw a thing the other day that said that when you make pies like this, you absolutely have to make sure to cook the egg yolks enough to kill some enzyme that is in them that eats the starch. The starch will set up, then it will turn soupy as the yolks have a party with the starch. It said to cook the filling for maybe a minute longer after you add the yolks to make sure you kill the enzyme. ;)

  29. Nikky!

    I admire you! These goofs (although edible), prove that you are human like me and not a cyborg like those on TV cooking shows where everything comes out perfect and shiny!


  30. This looks so amazing…I can hardly believe it was a fail!

Talk to me, baby!


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