Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chocolate Chess Pie

I rarely truly amaze myself with my baking.  I mean, I try new recipes and some come out better than others.  Some are good, some great, some ehhhhh.  But I generally know what to expect when I try, say a new cookie recipe no matter how different.  Some cookie recipes are better than others but most should result in a similar consistency.  With this pie, I truly amazed myself.  It might have been very very low expectations going in mostly due to the inclusion of evaporated milk which I associate with pecan or pumpkin pie, neither of which I like for the taste or consistency.  It also didn't look the most appealing after baking and I was worried nobody would eat it, hence the addition of the whipped cream.  (I have an irrational fear of rejection for my baked goods.)

So I made this pie the day before Thanksgiving and was pretty bummed out about how it looked.  Just not appealing and I didn't even know if I'd want to try a piece.  I just thought the consistency looked weird.  Then, on Matt's suggestion, added some homemade whipped cream before taking it to my in-laws on Thanksgiving.  I was leery to try it there but did and WOW.  Like I said, zero expectations (just like I'm trying to have for the Star Wars movie tonight) so almost anything edible would be a win.  Pie crust and then this super creamy, silky AMAZING chocolate layer.  And homemade whipped cream (the only kind worth eating) and a dusting of chocolate powder.  It was INCREDIBLE.  I don't say that lightly.  It might be the most impressed I've been with my own baking since baguettes (or the Samoa cupcakes I made for Luke's first birthday, those were pretty great too).

Even with Matt's big family there are always dessert leftovers because there are just so many to try.  Luckily for us, we came home with half a pie which we finished before the weekend was over.  Luke eagerly did his little boy bathroom business for a piece.  Anything that gets my kid to do that where and when I want him to is going to be a huge winner in my book.  I would make this again for Christmas if I didn't already have leftover ingredients from a dessert I didn't make for Thanksgiving (due to too many desserts).  This is worth a spot at your table soon.  It will be back on ours as soon as I can justify it. Or Pi Day.  Whichever is first.  (And despite 3 layers this is actually very easy to make and can be spread over multiple days.)

Chocolate Chess Pie
yield: 1 standard sized pie
Pie Crust (or insert your own favorite recipe or use a judgement)
1 ¼ cups flour
1 TB sugar
¼ tsp salt
8 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 TB very cold water

Chocolate Filling
1 ½ cups sugar
3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
5 ounces evaporated milk (or a little over ½ cup)
4 TB melted butter 
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

1) To make the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix briefly to combine.  Add in the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are about the size of peas.  Mix in the water on low speed just until the dough comes together.  Turn off the mixer.  Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or a few days). 

2) When ready to make the actual pie, remove the crust from the fridge and let sit at room temperature while mixing up the filling. To make the chocolate filling, preheat the oven to 350°.  Combine the sugar and cocoa in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix briefly to combine.  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the sugar/cocoa.  Turn the speed as high as possible without making a mess and add the milk, butter, and vanilla. 

Roll the crust into a circle big enough for your pie pan and transfer to pie pan, pressing it down to fill the corners.  Cut off any excess and use a fork or fingers to crimp the edges.  Dump in the chocolate filling.  Bake for 45 minutes or until set.  Let cool at room temperature and store in the fridge until ready to serve.  (I made this the day before we were eating it and it held up fine.)

3) Shortly before serving (or a few hours), mix up the whipped cream.  Add the cream and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until soft peaks form.  Gently spread this over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.  Serve cool.  Enjoy!!

Sources: Crust: Annie's Eats, Filling: All Recipes, Whipped Cream: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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