Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Garden Excursion And Chocolate Cream Pie

With my brother Josh at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden.
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Los Angeles to visit my brothers was a Sunday afternoon outing to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden with my brother Josh and his boyfriend Edward.
The 127 acre garden and historical site is located in the city of Arcadia and jointly operated by the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and features plant collections from all over the world.
Josh and Edward in front of the Queen Anne Cottage at the garden. The Victorian style house was built in 1885. 


Black Pepper


Walking through the gardens was so lovely. It wasn't crowded at all and because it was a weekend, there were multiple wedding parties scattered throughout the gardens which was fun to see.
When we returned to my brothers' house we made dinner and decided that we should make another sweet treat for dessert. I searched online and found a Chocolate Cream Pie recipe on the Food.Com website that we all decided was the thing to make.
The recipe had few ingredients, came together in minutes and needed just an hour or so to chill before serving. 
We topped slices of the pie with freshly whipped cream and we all loved it. The easy recipe is a definite keeper. 
So after a delightful garden excursion, we enjoyed pie, an episode of "Charlie's Angels" and the 1959 sci-fi horror film "The Killer Shrews." So much fun and for me, the perfect way to end a great day. 

Chocolate Cream Pie
(makes 1 9-inch pie)

First, make and bake a 9-inch pie crust. I used my favorite shortening crust recipe.

Pie Crust: 
1 1/2 cups flour
2 /3 cups vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add Crisco and using your fingers, break it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs with some large pieces remaining.
Add the water, just a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is moist enough to pull together into a ball. Roll out on a floured surface for the bottom crust.

Place the dough in a pie pan and crimp the edges. Bake for 5 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is set and golden brown.
The pie crust baking.

1 2/3 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 (14 ounce) can eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium-sized saucepan, use a whisk to mix the water and cornstarch and cocoa until smooth.
Stir in Eagle Brand milk and the three egg yolks. 
My brother John helping me with the hardest part of the recipe —  releasing all of the sweetened condensed milk from the can.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes before pouring into the baked pie shell. 
Let the pie cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving. 
After the pie cools completely, it's easy to slice and serve.
Top servings with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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