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Welcome to WFAEats - a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Your Valentine's Stories: The 'Pies' Have It

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February’s Valentine’s Day has long been heralded at my home with a chocolate pie – or more aptly – bittersweet chocolate pudding layered over a just slightly salty crust and topped with pillows of honey-kissed, freshly-whipped cream.

One year I decided to extend this deliciousness with pies to span the year – a monthly toast to homemade love.

Valentine’s Day is a good place to start. After de-toxing in January from the indulgent holiday season, February begins the start of new possibilities. The groundhog has declared our emotional weather. We can choose to be glum or glad. So I start my glad celebration in February. Chocolate pie makes me happy.

The year of pies that follows might go like this:

March: key lime

April: rhubarb

May: strawberry

June: peach

July: blackberry

August: blueberry

September: grape

October: apple

November: pumpkin

December: coconut

January: lemon

Of course, pie-of-the-month is open to endless interpretation. I try to center my pies around when the fruit is available locally or by a month’s Red Letter day. A Kentucky Derby pie in May; a cherry pie for George in February might be the very thing. But it would be hard to let go of the Valentine’s Day chocolate. Here’s the recipe:

Valentine’s Chocolate Cream Pie

For the pie:

1 baked pie shell, preferably homemade

3 cups milk

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon honey

A few drops of pure vanilla extract

Heat 2-3/4 cups milk, chocolate, and sugar in saucepan, stirring often until mixture reaches a simmer.

In a small bowl, stir cornstarch, salt and remaining 1/4 cup milk until smooth; set aside.

Stir 1/4 cup of the hot milk-and-chocolate mixture into the cornstarch mixture, then whisk this back into the saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool for 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Chill until serving time.

Just before serving whip together the heavy whipping cream, adding the honey and a few drops of vanilla as the cream thickens and soft peaks form. Pile onto chilled pie.

Makes one pie.