Waitress: Chocolate Strawberry Pie Recipe

Year Released: 2007
Directed by: Adrienne Shelly
Starring: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Adrienne Shelly
(PG-13, 104 min.)

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." George Bernard Shaw

Do not miss this delightfully outrageous tale of a small town waitress who copes with her soap opera life by creating pies that mirror her daily traumas. And the cast of assorted eccentrics is as unpredictable and whimsically delicious as the ingredients that overflow from the pastry.

Of course, the characters and plot are over the top, but underneath the hyperbole we are grounded in reality. A huge chunk of this reality is Jenna’s dead end marriage to Earl, a controlling husband as pathetic as he is appalling.

The film opens with Jenna lamenting the positive results of a pregnancy test, her condition not the result of a night of passion, but of Earl getting her drunk some six weeks prior. “Now I’m never going to get away from Earl,” she moans.

And we can see why she’d want to. He picks her up from work at Joe’s Pie Diner with several impatient hoots on his horn and the prompt demand that she hand over her daily wages to him. No wonder she squirrels away small bundles of cash throughout the house and pins her hopes on winning the $25,000 pie contest.

Her latest imaginings, however, might not exactly cinch this title – at least not with these names. I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie is appropriately a quiche with brie cheese and a smoked ham center, while to make I Hate My Husband Pie, “…you take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel.”

Complicating matters, Jenna falls head over heels in love with her married obstetrician, their rush of rash kisses, righteous regrets, and riotous examining room romps played so broadly as to approach farce. Perhaps, after wiping out any sacrosanct notions about marriage and expectant motherhood, writer/ director Adrienne Shelly could only deal with her deconstruction of medical ethics by making it just this side short of slapstick.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion) besides his dimples and soft brown eyes is his sympathetic ear. His visits Jenna at home on her day off, her body swollen with the quickening child, and is content to hug her with great tenderness and then become her pupil in pie making.

Another unlikely admirer is Old Joe, the curmudgeon owner of the pie shop, played with just the right amount of cantankerous charm by eighty-year-old Andy Griffith. He adores the pies as well as the woman, and his description of Jenna’s Strawberry-Chocolate Pie is almost poetry:

Just a pie! It's downright expert. A thing'a beauty... how each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. First, the flavor of an exotic spice hits ya... Just a hint of it... and then you get flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet like an old love affair...

 Long after the delicious pies and the outrageous antics of the assorted humans lingering at the pie shop are forgotten, we are left with some things that will linger. One is the empathy with which director Shelly treats her characters, even when they are behaving most unpleasantly. It would very easy, for example, to make Earl into a one-dimensional jerk, but Shelly reveals a man controlled by his own insecurities every bit as much as he controls his wife. “I ain’t never owned anything but you,” he whines, a man as dismal as he is deplorable, but certainly one that seems penned from real life.

And finally, without ever moralizing, surprisingly Waitress turns outs to be a very moral tale, with characters ultimately making the right decisions not because of any righteous sanctimony, but out of heartfelt understanding.

— Kathy Borich

Film-Loving Foodie

Sometimes, Different Drummer has to admit, it is a real challenge to find a recipe to go along with a film. We had to grasp at straws, for instance, in the purely made-up account of Howard Hughes and an offered prune to come up with Croissant-Prune Bread for The Hoax.

With Waitress it is an embarrassment of riches. In addition to the two recipes already mentioned in the review, we have, to name a few:

Baby Screaming Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life Pie
(“New York style cheesecake, brandy-brushed, pecans and nutmeg…”)

Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having an Affair Pie 
(“You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.”)

Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie
(“Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambé of course…”)

And the truly beguiling Lonely Chicago Pie, unfortunately with no accompanying recipe.

But being a former English teacher, I am a sucker for poetry, or what comes as close to it as you’ll get in this film, so I choose the Chocolate Strawberry Pie that is the subject of Old Joe’s rapture.

Just a pie! It's downright expert. A thing'a beauty... how each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. First, the flavor of an exotic spice hits ya... Just a hint of it... and then you get flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet like an old love affair...

 I hope our recipe lives up to his hype! (I’ve opted for the start from scratch version suited to Jenna’s style. For an incredibly easier way follow Weston Edwards’ advice: 

"Everyone knows how to make Banana cream. Well use the same principal. Make a oreo cookie crust. Slice fresh strawberries in the bottom. Cover with Chocolate pudding and let it set until cool. Top with Kool-whip. Optional to add grated chocolate on the top or a chocolate sauce."

Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted 
  • 3 tbsp. sugar 
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. semisweet chocolate morsels 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped 
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries 
  • 1 tsp. shortening 
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 

Directions

Combine first 3 ingredients, mixing well; firmly press onto bottom and sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pieplate. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. Cool completely. 

Place 1/2 cup chocolate morsels in top of a doubleboiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low. cook until chocolate melts. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat softened cream cheese at low speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy; add brown sugar and vanilla, mixing well. Add cooled chocolate, stirring well. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture; spoon into prepared crust. Chill at least 8 hours. 

Set aside 1 strawberry. Cut remaining strawberries into thick slices. Arrange slices over filling; place whole strawberry in center. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate morsels and shortening in a small saucepan; cook over low heat until chocolate melts. Drizzle over strawberries.

Recipe Source: Foodgeeks.com