Dad ordered a baker's dozen, sliced lox and cream cheese. Also Max's half dills, whitefish wrapped in paper and a block of gritty halvah. I helped by gazing into the glass case. It was cold, bright and packed with astounding confections. I was mesmerized by the frog cakes, cut to reveal raspberry smiles.
Once, the woman behind the counter lifted out a chocolate-covered log and handed it to me. I couldn't believe she gave me the eclair. I couldn't believe how good it was.
Everything at the Lincoln Del was good. But nothing was better than the chocolate pie. Thin crust underneath, piles of whipped cream on top. In between: nothing but chocolate. Not jiggly like pudding. Not fluffy like mousse. Not dense like creme brulee. It broke jagged on the fork and melted buttery in the mouth. I haven't found that texture since. Nor tried.
The recipe that follows offers a smooth feel and rich taste. But it's not Lincoln Del chocolate pie. I never tacked down all the details of Judaism. But I'm sure there's a rule against forgery.
Prep: 30 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie
- 1 fully baked 9-inch pie shell (crumb, shortbread or flaky)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs at room temperature (see note)
- Whipped cream
- Semisweet chocolate
Beat: Settle butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes. Set a timer.
Beat: Scrape in chocolate and vanilla. Beat briefly. Scrape down sides. Slide in 2 eggs; beat 5 minutes. Scrape down sides. Slide in remaining 2 eggs; beat 5 minutes. Chocolate should be silky smooth with no graininess.
Chill: Scrape chocolate mixture into pie shell. Cover and chill overnight.
Serve: Before serving, spread whipped cream over pie. Use a vegetable peeler to carve on curls of chocolate. Slice and enjoy.
Note: Eggs in this recipe are not cooked. Choose a carton marked "pasteurized" if you have raw-egg concerns.
Recipe adapted from "Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection" (1959). It is credited to Mrs. K.E. Cooper, of Silver Spring, Md. The Lincoln Del, a Minneapolis landmark, closed in 2000. Descendants of owner Morris Berenberg, who opened his first bakery in 1935, are at work on a cookbook. Thank goodness!