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HOME OF CHOCOLATE SILK PIE ALSO RICH IN HISTORY AND ART

Question: I would like the recipe of the Chocolate Silk Pie served at the W.A. Frost restaurant in St. Paul, Minn. It's the best I've ever eaten.

- Pat Lien, St. Paul, Minn.

Answer: Weather permitting, guests dine alfresco in the European-style courtyard of the old pharmacy building, situated in St. Paul's historic Cathedral Hill district, that is now the W.A. Frost & Co. Restaurant. Additional focal points of the area include the Cathedral of St. Paul and the James J. Hill House.

House is a bit of a misnomer for the 36,000-square-foot James J. Hill House, which was built in a style best described as Rich-ard-son-ian Romanesque. Henry Hobson Richardson, an American architect schooled in Europe, had tremendous impact on American architecture in the late 1800s by interpreting the Romanesque style to American public buildings. His designs included massive, beautifully detailed and proportioned libraries, churches and courthouses usually of rough-cut stone characterized by rounded arches.

Railroad magnate James J. Hill lived mainly on three levels of his "house," composed of 36,000 square feet, not including a marble floored basement and a fourth floor. The fourth floor was originally used as a play area for his children, and it was complete with a lighted stage and dressing rooms. The Hill House is open for touring, while offering chamber music and art exhibits. Time permitting, take a guided walking tour down Summit Avenue toward the Mississippi River, and view some of the most beautiful turn-of-the-century homes in the Midwest.

Traditionally, the ingredients for the filling of a Chocolate Silk Pie are combined without cooking. We have adapted this recipe for home use by cooking the eggs.

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RECIPE

CHOCOLATE SILK PIE

CRUST

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 cup crushed Ritz crackers

FILLING

4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

4 egg whites, beaten until stiff

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

3 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup cream, whipped

Prepare crust: Cream butter and sugar. Add chocolate and crackers. Mix well. Press mixture into 9-inch pie tin, building up sides. Chill crust while preparing filling.

Prepare filling: Whisk egg yolks lightly and set aside. In small bowl beat egg whites to form stiff peaks and set aside. Combine butter, sugar and chocolate in top of double boiler over boiling water. When chocolate melts and sugar dissolves, add 1/2 cup hot mixture to egg yolks, stirring to blend. Reduce heat slightly and immediately pour egg mixture back into double boiler. Continue stirring until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gently fold egg whites into hot chocolate mixture. Allow mixture to cool completely. Spoon filling into crust and refrigerate for at least two hours. Whip cream while pie is setting. Serve pie topped with freshly whipped cream. Makes one 9-inch pie.