Classic Chocolate Cream Pie

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie by oh my omiyage

The last time I had chocolate cream pie, I was in high school at Waffle House.  I’m always stuffed up with waffles, cheesesteaks sandwiches, and hash browns there so I rarely tried something new or even looked at the menu.  One night, my friend ordered something I’ve never heard of before – chocolate pie.  Up until that point, I only had the pie basics – pecan, apple, berries, pumpkin.  So when a plate plopped and slid down in front us with a piece of shaky pie topped with what looked like chocolate pudding and whipped cream, I was skeptical.  The presentation wasn’t selling the pie either.

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie by oh my omiyage

Then I stole a bite.  The pie was smooth and cool, and the crunch of the crust complemented the creaminess well.  I loved the whipped cream and the crust, but there was something missing from the chocolate cream filling.  I’ve never been a huge fan of chocolate pudding, and the layer of chocolate gave me that same sweet un-satisfaction.  It was too fluffy with not enough substance.  Since that fateful day, I never tried chocolate cream pie again.  In fact, I almost completely forgot about it until I came across this recipe online, and the memories flooded back.

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie by oh my omiyage

Sure I didn’t have a completely positive experience back in high school, but when I spotted it again, I remembered the three simple, classic layers that blended into one creamy, sweet bite.  I remembered the booth where I was sitting and my best friend who sat across from me.  I remembered how cool it felt going down my throat on that late summer day.  This pie reminds me of simpler times when I thought a late-night run to Waffle House was the definition of a great night out (ok – I haven’t changed that much).   A little bit of tweaking with the chocolate layer, and this pie is perfection.

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie by oh my omiyage

Classic Chocolate Cream Pie
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Servings: 10

For the Crust:
30 Oreo Cookies*, crushed into crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

For the Chocolate Filling:
2½ cups half-and-half
Pinch salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream Topping:
3 cups whipping cream
4½ teaspoons granulated sugar

1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.  Combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter in a 9-inch pie dish.  Press it evenly and compactly into the bottom and onto the sides of the dish.  Refrigerate the dish for 15 minutes.  Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes or until the smell of toasted Oreos starts to fill the room. Place it on a cooling rack.

2.  For the chocolate filling: In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cornstarch.  In another bowl, whisk the 6 yolks until slightly thickened.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the yolks until the sugar is almost dissolved.  In a medium saucepan, simmer the half-and-half, salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Temper the yolks by slowly pouring 1/2 a cup of the half-and-half mixture over the yolks, whisking constantly.  Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly until it’s just starting to boil and the mixture is thickened and glossy.

3.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Add chocolate and vanilla to the mixture and mix together until incorporated, making sure to scrape the bottom.  Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl.  Pour this strained filling into the crust and shake gently to even out.  Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

4. For the whipped topping: Right before you’re ready to serve, beat the cream and sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the chocolate filling.  Top with chocolate shavings, and serve!

*Japanese Oreos are a little bit smaller and less sweet than their US counterparts, which is why I upped the quantity.  If you’re using US Oreos, use 24 cookies.

Tokyo Desserts & Cafes

Walking around Tokyo, you’ll soon realize that it’s a haven for the sweet tooth.  Tokyo has such a great blend of Japanese, European, Chinese, and American desserts – and all done to perfection.  Zhing and I have a soft spot for desserts, and we definitely did the city justice.  Here’s just a small splattering of some of our favorite Tokyo desserts over the past year and a half!  More to come tomorrow :)

My Favorite Tokyo Desserts and Cafes

From the top left to bottom right, by row:
Giotto (multiple locations), 100% Chocolate Cafe (Kyobashi)
Starbucks (multiple locations), Homemade Cupcakes and Sorbet
Berry Parlour (Minami-Aoyama), Echire (Maranouchi)
Berry Parlour (Minami-Aoyama), Lupicia Salon (Jiyugaoka)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for a long time.  For me, the perfect cookie is chewy, moist, not overly sweet, filled with chocolate chips, and with just a hint of crisp.  I’ve finally found that recipe!

And like all of my favorite recipes, this cookie is easy and quick.  It only takes 5 minutes to mix by hand and 10 minutes in the oven.. and tah-dah! Freshly baked, perfectly chewy cookies.

Before popping your cookies into the oven, make sure to nudge a few chocolate chips on top of each cookie.  There’s nothing worse than a cookie missing chocolate chips!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by ohmyomiyage

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by ohmyomiyage

Chewy chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe by ohmyomiyage

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. In a large bowl, mix the butter, white and brown sugar with a spatula until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Dissolve the baking soda in a teaspoon of warm water. Add the dissolved baking soda and salt into the mixture. Add the flour into the mixture in 3 portions, mixing each slowly until fully incorporated. Add the chocolate chips.
3. Using an ice cream scooper or spoon, drop ping-pong-ball sized scoops of cookie dough on a prepared cookie sheet. Top each cookie with 3-4 chocolate chips.
4. Place the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes or until the outer edges are a tad browned. Cool and serve.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by ohmyomiyage

Chocolate Covered Kona Coffee Beans

Thought I’d share a little omiyage I made for my students.  This omiyage takes a bit of time and patience, but it’s a nice grown up treat! :)  Here’s how to do it yourself!

1. Choose your favorite coffee beans.

2.  Prep your chocolate by adding shortening and melt it in a double boiler.

3. Throw a couple beans at a time into the chocolate and use a fork to take them out, allowing excess chocolate to drain.  Place them on a piece of foil and/or in the fridge to harden.  Wrap or bottle as you like!

Japanese Street Food: The Sweet

I didn’t get a chance to capture all of the dessert booths at the festival since it was so busy and crowded.  One that I’m very sorry to have missed was the candied fruit stand, which I must have seen over 10 people carrying and enjoying!  I did capture a few though including chocolate covered bananas:

A crepe bar:

And cotton candy strung across clothing line for 500 yen each:

I can’t wait for the upcoming summer festivals!

Happy White Day: The Day of Triple Returns

– Chocolate from Jean Paul Hevin –

It’s White Day in Japan!  White Day is women payback for Valentine’s Day in Japan.  Since women slaved over the stove making homemade chocolates for the important men (partners, friends, coworkers) in their lives for Valentine’s Day, the favor is returned today.  On White Day, men give (store-bought.. of course) desserts or gifts to all of the women who gave them something on V-Day.  Yesterday and today, men lined up outside dessert shops to buy sweets for their sweeties!

– A VERY Chocolate-y Hot Chocolate from Jean Paul Hevin –

White Day still isn’t as commercialized or as celebrated as Valentine’s Day in the States – restaurants, movie theaters, and romantic spots won’t be filled with loving couples today.  But like all smart women, we’ve found our way to capitalize on this holiday with a little rule called sanbai gaeshi, which translates to ‘triple return’!  Although it’s not set in stone, this tradition urges men to give a gift on White Day that’s triple the cost of the gift received on Valentine’s Day.  Let’s see if my husband brings anything home!  If not, I have my bases covered – I picked up 2 cakes today! :)