In Memory of Marge . . .

When my uncle's call came yesterday, it wasn't a surprise. My grandmother had been sick with Alzheimer's and lung cancer for a while now. Almost ten years after we lost my mom, Nana is joining her and my grandfather....wouldn't that be cool if they greeted her with a Goldie's Hamburger? ;)

{This is Nana with my mom, 1945.}

My Nana's picture just might be in your dictionary under the word "character." She went to mass every morning and her favorite word was "sh@#." {That's the truth.} She was the craziest dancer at every wedding (though, my Uncle Mike & my sister are running neck & neck for that title now).

{This was always the picture I would stare at when I visited. I love this picture!}

She was in the Women's Army Corps in WWII and she and my papa got engaged at Pat O'Briens in New Orleans. {No wonder I like those Hurricanes so much!}

{Here we are in 1979. Nana had that same hair-do for 40 years. I'm on the left. Knee socks & sandals were high fashion apparently.}

Now, to me, Marge wasn't known as a cook or a baker. I remember her with a crochet hook in her hand rather than in the kitchen. But every time we visited, there were always two cream pies in the fridge...always chocolate and either lemon or coconut. She was famous for her "macaroni & meat" (pasta, tomato sauce and ground beef....totally kid heaven) and made a mean whiskey sour.

So, I made a Chocolate Cream Pie in her honor.

Chocolate Cream Pie

{Recipe modified from Food & Wine magazine}

6 ounces, about 1 & 1/2 c. Oreos (just the wafer part), or chocolate wafer cookies
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Using a food processor, finely grind the Oreo cookies (not the creamy with them what you will).

In a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Pour the mixture into a 9-inch glass pie dish and press evenly over the bottom and up the side of the dish to form a crust. Bake for 8 minutes, until the crust is fragrant.

Remove from the oven and, using the bottom of a drinking glass, immediately press the crumbs again to compact the crust. (brilliant idea from F&W!) Let cool completely.

make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar until bubbles form around the edge. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture.

Pour into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. Strain the chocolate filling into the pie crust through a coarse sieve (this does not work with a fine sieve, I tried!) and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pie filling and refrigerate for 3 hours, until chilled.

{Nana made this ♥ doily!}

Let the pie stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla until firm. Spread the whipped cream over the pie, cut into wedges and serve, garnished with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Nana...we will miss you. The dance floor at the next family wedding won't be the same without you. And, I'll think of you the next time I say, "sh@#" shouldn't be long.

{Works for Me Wednesday and the "troubleshooting" post will be back next week.}
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