Musical pairing – You’re Gonna Get It by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
“Waitress” is a beautiful movie. I can’t say enough good things about it. Without ruining it for you, I’ll just say it’s about a lost woman finding her way back to herself in the face of unforeseen circumstances. The very talented (and tragically deceased) Adrienne Shelly wrote and directed the film. She believed that it needed an element of visual interest that would keep an audience focused during an otherwise cerebral story. So she decided that the main character should make a lot of pies. A pie for every turn in the plot. Ultimately, Keri Russell’s waitress character bakes to cope.
All that pastry-baking contributed heavily to the now cult classic status of the film. Well, that and the delightfully talented actors. Nathan Fillion co-stars as a doctor and for those of you who don’t know, Nathan Fillion is a big time pin-up for the lady geek community. Like Bruce Campbell before him, you could probably put Nathan Fillion in a 27-hour miniseries about the history of car batteries and I’d watch with rapt attention. It should be noted that my best friend Lindsay told me, for years, to watch “Waitress” before I actually did. She’s like the Movie Whisperer. She knows what movie anyone should watch for any reason and she accurately predicted my obsession with both the pies and the Fillion. The woman is gifted.
When I went looking for a recipe to one of the “Waitress” pies I was pleased to find that not only did the actual DVD sell with ten recipe cards, but that just like the Spanglish Sandwich, the pies of “Waitress” inspired bakers everywhere to make their own versions. A delightful chocolate crust filled with fresh berries and topped with home-made whipped cream, I really wanted to try my own hand at “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie.”
I made the pie last night at about 9:30 and right away, I know why Keri Russel’s desperate waitress character makes it in the throes of guilt. This pie could be classified as a medical sedative. The rich ingredients, mostly butter, pure chocolate and heavy whipping cream, act the same way that a tranquilizer dart might. Roughly five minutes after I served the pie to my husband, I looked over to find him snoozing away on the couch, dirty plate still in hand.
Now remember, before this pie my only effort for Movie Bites has been a sandwich. So to say that the jump in the sophistication level of recipes was a big one is an understatement. This one called for “ganache”. I didn’t even know what ganache was before yesterday. (Though I did enjoy dancing around the kitchen singing “I made ganache” to the tune of “The Monster Mash”.) Ganache, as it turns out, is pure chocolate mixed with boiling hot heavy whipping cream. It was the only thing I did right in the whole recipe, but boy did it look impressive as I poured the glossy melted chocolate and cream mixture into the finished (lumpy/malformed) crust.
And as I was almost finished pouring the ganache, I remembered the berries. I was supposed to mash the fresh blackberries and raspberries into the chocolate crust once it cooled. Before I poured in the ganache. So I hurriedly poured the berries into the ganache and used a potato masher to try to mix them in and make the whole thing look intentional. The resulting pie filling resembled a melted crunch bar. But after I topped it all with home-made whipped cream (For which I bought my first EVER, very own hand-mixers!) and some leftover fresh berries, the pie looked beautiful.
Sure it was still boiling lava hot. But I served it up anyway. I’m pretty sure pie isn’t supposed to be spooned out like macaroni and cheese. But it hardly seemed right to let such a beautiful pie sit in the fridge overnight.
After moving a thousand miles away from home two weeks ago, I’ve been consistently blue for the last several nights. When the sun goes down, for some reason, so does my mood. But last night baking my ridiculously over-the-top pie and singing my own version of “The Monster Mash”…well, it felt pretty darn good.
Sure, fresh berries are in season. It’s the perfect time to bake “Earl Murders Me” pie. But my choice may also have had something to do with missing that best friend who introduced me to the wonderful world of “Waitress” in the first place. She may be a thousand miles away right now, but the movie she introduced me to became a partial reality in my shiny new kitchen.
Now that’s baking to cope . . . but maybe that’s just the chocolate talking . . .
Here’s the Smith Bites Riff . . .
“EARL MURDERS ME” PIE-SHOTS ™
Created by Smith Bites
Makes 6-8 Pie-Shots™
FOR THE PIE:
- 3-4 chocolate biscotti (regular-size; adjust quantity if using minis)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vodka
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
FOR THE WHIPPED TOPPING:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon raspberry vodka
- pinch salt
- chocolate shavings for tops
- MAKE THE GANACHE (guh-NAHSH): Bring cream, sugar and salt just to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and raspberry vodka; whisk to combine. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes
- In the meantime, place biscotti in ziplock bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin; you’re looking for the consistency of sand. Set aside
- Mash the berries together leaving a little bit of texture; meaning mash them but you’re not looking for a puree – I like to see bits of the berries
- Whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, raspberry vodka and pinch of salt until soft peaks
- Spoon 1 tablespoon biscotti into bottom of each shot glass
- Pour 1 tablespoon chocolate-raspberry ganache on top of biscotti, creating the second layer
- At this point, you have two choices: (a) You can place the half-filled shot glasses into the refrigerator and let the ganache set up a bit before adding the berry layer OR
- (b) proceed and carefully place 1 tablespoon of berries on top of the ganache
- The final layer will be the whipped cream sprinkled with a few shavings of chocolate
This dessert can be made one day ahead EXCEPT the whipped cream layer which can be made and added to the shot glass up to two hours before serving – just keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
If, like Audrey, you’ve never made ganache and want to learn how, The Professor shows you how in a very short (about 1 minute) “Class With The Prof” below!
Audrey Brown is a freelance journalist and voice over artist. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing and was once mentioned in the Huffington Post by documentary director Mark Edlitz for her feminist thoughts on Princess Leia’s gold bikini. Audrey lives in Florida with her husband Jake and it is entirely possible that you will see the two of them running wild through Walt Disney World on any given day. If you wave at them, just remember that the Vulcan hand signal is just their way of waving back and not an obscene gesture. You can find Audrey at her blog Born For Geekdom.