Tag Archives: Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

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Pies are a great holiday dessert. Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies seem to be the traditional favorites, but Chocolate Chess Pie sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That’s one of the many delicious pie recipes from The Hoosier 1375466665-hoosier_mama_bookMama Book of Pie. I received a review copy recently, and enjoyed looking at all the recipes and colorful photos of the many pies in that homey, retro-style cookbook! I’m not a great pie-maker myself, but I do appreciate a well-baked pie! 🙂

Author Paula Haney opened  the Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago on March 14, 2009–which is also “Pi day”! There was a line of customers around the block, and from day one, Paula has been baking and selling more pies than she probably ever dreamed of! If anyone knows how to make a great pie, Paula does, and she shares  her recipes for all kinds of pies–fruit pies, cream pies, chess pies, and savory pies. She also includes recipes for pie crusts, hand pies, scones, and quiches. You’ll find helpful tips and techniques sprinkled throughout the book, too.

Some great-sounding pies that got my attention in this book include:

  • Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Pie with Walnut Crumble
  • Maple-Pecan Pie
  • Caramel-Banana Cream Pie
  • Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Ganache
  • Red Line Espresso Cream Pie
  • Cheddar Vegetable Pie
  • French Onion Soup Pie
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Ham and Brie Quiche
  • Sweet Potato Hand Pies

And, as I mentioned, the Chocolate Chess Pie sounded pretty great, too, so I decided I’d try that one out. It’s a very rich, chocolatey, fudgy pie. Mine had a thin, crusty top layer that crackled as I cut into the pie–I’m not sure if it’s supposed to have a crusty top layer–it’s possible I may have baked it just a bit too long (see my notes in the recipe on the baking time). Nonetheless, it was still very fudgy and yummy!

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • 1 single-crust pie shell (Paula recommends her All-Butter Pie Dough that’s finished off with a napkin fold, which she explains how to do in her book; if you use a frozen pie shell like I did, get a regular, not deep dish, pie shell)
  • Pie Wash (equal parts whole milk and cream mixed together in a very small bowl or cup) for brushing the pie shell–I used 1 teaspoon each of milk and cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste (I didn’t have vanilla paste, so I just used 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and brush the rim with Pie Wash. Set aside.

Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a medium heatproof bowl set on top of a saucepan of simmering water.

Remove the butter from the heat and beat in the sugar until it is thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should look shiny, but not greasy. If the mixture appears greasy, continue to beat.

Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the same manner as the butter. Remove from the heat. Be sure to wipe any condensation off the bottom of the bowl, otherwise it may drip into your batter.

Stir the melted chocolate into the butter mixture.

Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

Add the cornmeal, vanilla paste, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl and incorporate any unmixed butter. Pour the batter into the pie shell.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating 180 degrees every 20 minutes, until the top of the pie doesn’t give when pressed firmly in the middle. (Note: My pie was done at about 58 minutes, and I think it may have been a little too long, so you may want to check yours a little early, like around 55 minutes). The pie will rise up to 1 inch above the rim of the pie tin as it bakes, then fall slowly as it cools. The finished pie may be slightly concave. (The top of my pie had a thin crusty layer, which looks a little odd when the pie has risen fresh out of the oven, but it looks fine after the pie falls when cooling. It did crackle when I cut it, though).

The baked pie can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.

All in all, I thought the pie was very dense, moist, and delicious! The photo of the pie in this cookbook shows it dusted with powdered sugar, so I did that, too, while the pie was still warm. It makes a nice finishing touch!

Have you ever made a Chocolate Chess Pie? What’s your favorite holiday pie?

Frozen Strawberry Pie from A Year of Pies

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For some time, I’ve been thinking about how I wanted to become better at pie-making and try some new recipes. Since we’ve had such a hot summer though, I was planning on getting serious about making pies when it cooled off a little more this coming fall.

And then I received a review copy of  A Year of Pies by Ashley English. When I was looking through this book, which has a good variety of sweet and savory pie recipes divided up by season (so you can use fresh seasonal ingredients in your pies all year long), I found some summery pies that sounded good and decided to try the Frozen Strawberry Pie…just the thing to make on a really hot summer day! Made with vanilla yogurt, honey, and cream, it’s really refreshing! It’s also a lightly sweet pie, which I liked, but if you like your pie sweeter you could add a little more honey to your filling.

This cookbook also includes recipes for a variety of pie crusts, and the Frozen Strawberry Pie has a graham cracker crust. This was the first graham cracker crust I’ve made…

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I thought it turned out pretty well…it was very easy to make and it’s a really good crust! A Year of Pies also includes some helpful pie-making tips at the beginning of the book which, being a novice pie-maker, I really appreciate. 🙂

Here’s the pie recipe if you’d like to try this out yourself!

FROZEN STRAWBERRY PIE from A Year of Pies

Makes one 9″ (deep-dish) pie

Graham Cracker Crust (makes one 9-inch deep-dish crust):

  • 8 ounces graham crackers (about 10 “sheets,” which will yield about 2 cups crushed crackers)
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Crush the graham crackers either by pulsing them in a food processor or placing them in a plastic freezer bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.

Combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium-size bowl and stir until fully mixed. Press the mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, covering the bottom evenly and pressing the crumbs halfway up the sides (my pie plate was semi-deep-dish, so I pushed my crumbs up the sides a little higher…almost to the top).

Bake the crust 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.

Frozen Strawberry Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups whole-milk vanilla yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey (add an extra tablespoon if you’d like it sweeter)
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional garnish: 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (I just cut about 8 or 9 hulled strawberries in half and used those around the edges, cut side down, for a garnish)

Combine the yogurt and honey in a large bowl. Stir in the 2 cups of strawberries.

In a medium-size bowl, using a mixer or a whisk, beat the cream and vanilla until billowy peaks form.

Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture.

Assemble the pie:

Pour the filling mixture into the cooled crust (my pie plate was semi-deep-dish, so I didn’t use quite all the filling). If desired, arrange sliced (or halved) strawberries in a circle around the outer edge of the pie.

Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. (I froze mine overnight, and since it was so frozen, I needed to allow about 30 to 40 minutes’ thawing time before I could slice the pie…thawing time will probably vary–just keep in mind that the pie may need some time to thaw!)

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Variation: You can substitute blackberries or raspberries for the strawberries.

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This is a great pie for summer! What’s your favorite summertime pie?