This is the pie that tells the story of who I am and who I don’t want to be.
I am that person who relishes in another’s good fortune. I am that person who admires people who have stepped into an entrepreneurial endeavor, taking risk, especially when it is in the creative or culinary arts.
I had a rich opportunity last week to sit down with five restaurant entrepreneurs. I had to peel myself away from each two hour interview, because I couldn’t get enough of their story, and their positive energy. Positive. Energy.
Nashville has quite an unusual entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with rare camaraderie and mutual respect amongst business owners and the chefs.
I was reminded of this scene in the recent movie, The Little Rascals Save the Day. If you’re not familiar with it, these fumbling rascals set out to raise money to save the small town bakery. The leader of the pack, Spanky, has a gifted, entrepreneurial spirit and comes up with the several, clever money-making ideas, supported with fervor by the rest of the “rascals,” only to be foiled by Spanky’s own mistakes. After his pals leave him, declaring him just too bossy, Grandma, owner of the bakery counsels him.
Grandma takes out a can of cocoa and has him smell it, and of course, he loves it. Then she has him taste it. He quickly noted how bitter it was. She explained how that cocoa needs all of the other ingredients to make something taste good.
A good idea is not much without garnishing teamwork, respect, and support.
Last week I tasted a little bitterness myself when I read about a cookbook that underwent some harsh scrutiny. It got so heated, that it became a bit of a dust up in the on-line food community.
I felt defensive for the cookbook author, though I don’t know her and haven’t peered into her book. What should have been a critique came off more like beauty shop gossip. You know the kind, “oh Gawd, look at her hair.” Or, “you know how they really made their money.” Etc. Etc.
I grew up in hair salons (three generations), and I hated the gossip more than the smell of perm solution. I heard things I didn’t want to know or think. Sometimes someone puts something into your head, and it never leaves, even if it’s not true or half true. Then you never view that person the same again.
I didn’t blog for a week, as I sorted this out in my mind. Then I thought back to these entrepreneurs who have to face constant criticism from customers, bloggers, critics and worst of all, yelpers. Their livelihood is on the chopping block every day.
What do successful people do with personal attack, non-constructive criticism? They just keep moving and they don’t look back.
I know some of you will say that we need to listen to constructive criticism. I believe it’s okay to judge someone’s art or work, but when it gets personal and uses pictures with their children, it crosses a line for me.
Pretty people should be able to take it, because we have this idea that they have more doors opened for them, and we need to level that playing field. Ugh, there is nothing uglier than insecurity. It brings out the worst in all of us. It’s that thing that makes us smile when a successful or beautiful person fails. It’s one of the unkindest parts of humanity.
The topic of sexism was raised. I didn’t think the critique was sexist because it was about the appearance of the cover. I think what was sexist is that if the book had a male author showing his cool life style, no one would dare take a jab, especially another man. If I’m wrong, show me, and I’ll concede that.
So how did I move on and get back to blogging?
Moving means cooking and writing for me. I am going to order the book, make the recipes for myself, and not pay attention to any competitions or clever critiques. If I like what I cook, I’ll share it with you. In fact, I’ll order both books because I think the winner deserves that too.
Today, I give you a recipe from the Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook. In this recipe, the bitter cocoa does its job, combining the strength of the cocoa with the sweetness of sugar. There is a life lesson there.
This simple cookbook is the not the coolest cookbook ever written, but it made people happy before Retro Rose was born and she turns 80 next week!
It’s adorable, and uses terms like cupful instead of cup. It still makes the best chocolate fudge cupcakes and chocolate frosting.
The Cocoa Cream Pie Recipe Process
I give you some options for the crust, like this chocolate pastry dough from a different chocolate cream tart I made years ago. You could also use this tart crust recipe made with an egg. You can make the pie as one big pie or in small tarts. I was sharing these, but otherwise, I would probably go for the big cocoa cream pie. Go a bit lighter on the whipped cream. I got a little carried away, because I was so happy about the way the whipped cream stabilized.
I also offer two options for topping the pie. You can use a meringue which is how the recipe reads, or opt for a whipped cream topping. These pictures with strawberry are taken two days after I piped the whipped cream, and shows you how well the technique works (adding confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese).
I hope you enjoy your food life, your baking and your Hershey’s cocoa cream pie. And, I really hope that if someday I get to write a cookbook, someone out there hates it enough to make me famous. (just kidding).
- ¼ cupful of Hershey's Cocoa
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 inch baked pie shell
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese (optional)
- Mix together cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, salt. Put into a saucepan, and slowly add in milk, whisking until smooth.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and starts to boil.
- Boil for one minutes, continuing to stir.
- Turn off heat. Add in butter and vanilla.
- Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
- Pour into baked prepared pie shell, cover with prepared meringue.
- Brown in hot oven of 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
- Top chocolate pie with a stabilized whipped cream. No extra baking.
I like a chocolate cream pie and give you that option.