Like every other baker in the history of ever, I adore the movie Waitress, if not only for the delightfully quirky comedy or the lush scenes of melted chocolate pouring nearly erotically into perfectly formed pie crusts (seriously), but for the moments of stillness and calm provided by the profoundly simple act of baking a pie for someone you love. Very few moments in film stop and dwell in this world in quite the same way, and for those of us who revel in recreating these moments in our everyday lives — whether it be through baking, sewing, knitting, gardening, carpentry, book-binding, calligraphy, fly fishing…or whatever nerdy thing you can’t live without — the art of the handmade often lies not in the product, but the process. The few perfect moments you get to spend when you aren’t thinking about your bank statement or your job or the vacuuming that desperately needs to be done, and it’s just you and the craft.
In this movie, there is a holy grail of pie, the Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie. Now, we never really see this pie or hear the ingredients mentioned in any real way, but, again, like all bakers in the history of ever, I just had to make one. Here’s the clues we have to go on, succinctly put by Andy Griffith: “It could solve all the problems of the world, that pie. A thing of beauty. How each flavor opens itself one by one, like a chapter in a book. First, the flavor of an exotic spice hits you, just the hint of it. And then you’re flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet, like an old love affair. And finally strawberry, the way strawberry was always supposed to taste but never knew how.”
How do you resist that challenge? You can’t! You buy some baking chocolate and some strawberries, and you get to it.
My version of the Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie involves a cinnamon-spiced chocolate graham cracker crust, french silk filling, fresh sliced strawberries, and a topper of sweet whipped cream. Let’s do this.
Chocolate graham crackers get spun up into crumbs in the food processor and then mixed up with some sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
We spread out this Oreo-looking delicious stuff into our 9″ deep-dish pie pan, and then bake it up.
While that’s baking? More chocolate!
I had never made French silk pie before, and Betty helped me out. More chocolate, butter, and sugar get whipped up with vanilla and eggs (or egg substitute, if you can’t do the raw egg thing, like me) into silky perfection.
Spread it out into the cooled pie crust. Now, time to display some willpower and refrigerate that beast for at least 2 hours before proceeding.
Then slice up some strawberries and arrange them as artfully as you can stand on top of the partially solidified chocolate filling.
I’m mostly kidding on the ‘artfully’ part because that’s all going to get covered up with whipped cream in about a second.
It doesn’t look like much all covered up, but that’s part of the fun! Anybody taking a unsuspecting bite of this beauty will be delighted by that strawberry surprise. The crunchy crust warms everything up with cinnamon and sweetness. The chocolate is rich and creamy, and the tartness of the fresh berries cuts right through, leaving you with a mouth full of spiced chocolate strawberry goodness and no room for complaints.
Now, take care in slicing this guy. It’s helpful to refrigerate it a little bit more before slicing just to get all the layers solidified. Then be sure to use a sharp knife to cut through those strawberries and crust to get a clean slice.
It took a try or two, but success occurred! (And that red and white striped t-shirt matching the pie? Completely unintentional, I promise.)
Strawberry chocolate oasis success. Now, I don’t know if you can solve all of the problems of the world with this particular pie, but it will certainly get you closer.
Jinger’s Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie
inspired by Waitress, and with a little assistance from Betty Crocker
Chocolate Cinnamon Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate graham crackers (I used one sleeve, about 18 squares)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
French Silk Pie Filling:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and then cooled
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 lb. sliced strawberries
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well-incorporated. Press mixture firmly against the bottom and sides of a 9″ deep-dish pie pan.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling.
In medium bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and cooled chocolate. Gradually add in egg substitute and beat on high speed until mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Pour into pie crust and spread evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Resist the urge to lick the entire bowl clean. Seriously.
After filling has chilled sufficiently, arrange sliced strawberries on top of chocolate. Press the strawberries slightly into the filling, to keep the layers from slipping.
Combine remaining ingredients in chilled mixing bowl and whip cream on high speed until super fluffy and spreadable. Spread whipped cream over the top of the sliced strawberries until completely covered.
Chill entire pie for 30 minutes to an hour so that everything comes together and slices more evenly.
Now pretend you’re in a quirky romantic indie comedy and enjoy! I think Adrienne Shelly would be proud.