Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"The Help" Dinner Party

Newspaper columnist Lee Ann Flemming is one of the best bakers in Greenwood,  so I hear.  She made 53 chocolate pies during the filming of The Help.  Her fudgy version here is as classic as it gets.  This recipe originally appeared in Food and Wine.

 The Help's ending hinges on a secret involving Minny's famous Chocolate pie.  As I was preparing for our dinner party, Jhumpa asks what the dessert will be.  I said, Minny's Chocolate Pie of course, minus one ingredient.  Her comment, "Stone will have to take the first bite!"

Minny's Chocolate Pie
1 single pie crust
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped Cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350'.   Place the pie crust into a 9" pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively.  Prick the crust lightly with a fork.  Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 15 minutes or until set.  Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.
2.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
3.  Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center.  Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking.  Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges  Serve with whipped cream.
Make Ahead:
The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight.

I can't remember the last time I had Ambrosia.  I don't know why I never prepare it since it is so good.  In the movie The Help, Ambrosia is the salad that Sissy Spacek, aka Mrs. Walters, ate while she watched The Guiding Light during the bridge parties.

Ambrosia Salad
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) tub cool whip
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained, halved and patted dry
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped nut (pecans, walnuts, cashews) optional 
2 cup miniature marshmallows
1. Fold sour cream into Cool Whip in a large bowl.
2.  Gently fold in remaining ingredients, making sure the oranges, pineapple, and cherries have been well drained.
3.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Now I remember why I never fry chicken.  It is too much work!  Not wanting to make a mess in the house, I fried the chicken outside.  I stressed all day about this chicken.  The sad thing was, after all this work it didn't compare to my mama's or KFC.  My mama always made it seem so effortless.  It is not!!!
With our dinner, Jhumpa cooked up a batch of collard greens while Helen brought mac and cheese with crumbled bacon that had been cooked on their Green Egg, therefore smoky.