Tawny Port with Chocolate Cream Pie

Posted on January 21, 2012


Chocolate Cream Pie with White Chocolate Crumbles and Tawny Port

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and it gave me an opportunity to try out a dessert that I found in the 2011 Top 100 Wines issue of Wine Spectator magazine. The dessert was a chocolate cream pie that was recommended to be paired with a 10-year-old Tawny Port. The creator of the dessert is renowned pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith. Her desserts are inspired by, what some would consider, junk food and diners, but her take is that her creations are “pretty straightforward, clean…ingredient-driven and [she] uses the best quality only. Everything should taste like what it is. Chocolate should taste like chocolate.” This diner associated sweet has an addition that my guests and I were happy to learn of: caramelized and crumbled white chocolate. It is a revelation. Goldsmith called for a 17oz. block of Valrhona Ivoire 35 percent white chocolate, but all I could find in Juneau was Lindt white chocolate. I took three 3.5 oz. bars and stacked them to make a ¾” bar that was then baked in a 250 Fahrenheit degree oven for 30 minutes. From the outside, the bar looks relatively unchanged in color, but the inside becomes a light brown with a crumbly texture. She calls for a sweet, or pate sucree, crust to be baked blind in a 10” pie pan. Whichever recipe you find for this crust, do not heed the advice if it is recommended that you push the crust into the pan instead of rolling it out first otherwise your efforts will result in a very uneven crust that will shrink considerably. The pudding Goldsmith calls for is made with bittersweet chocolate. I used Lindt 70 percent combined with Scharffenberger 70 percent. Whipped cream should not be added until just before you are ready to serve the pie. I added a slight amount of sugar and a dash of vanilla. Upon tasting, I realized that the sugar and vanilla were not necessary because the chocolate contained enough sweetness for both layers and the vanilla interfered with the taste of the port. The white chocolate broken into bits on top of the pie is a welcome third layer.

The Tawny Ports recommended in the feature are not available in Juneau. There are a lot of wines that are not available in Juneau, but we did have a 10-year W. & J. Graham’s Tawny Porto that was gifted to us this fall that I thought matched just fine for our purposes. Thank you Alison. However, if you have more choices available to you, you may want to seek out Goldsmith’s recommended Niepoort 10-year Tawny Port for its “toffee, caramel and honey flavors.” I have not transcribed the recipe here, but if you would like to execute the pie as closely to Chef Hedy Goldsmith’s version as possible and don’t have access to the magazine, just write me a note in the forum and I will be happy to share it with you.