Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chocolate Chess Pie

There used to be a restaurant in Berkeley called Beggar's Banquet. This was long before the burgeoning of Berkeley as a Foodie Mecca.  What I remember best about Beggar's Banquet was the Chocolate Pie. It had a nice brownie texture with the chocolate forming its own crust on this one crust pie. The closest I've come to matching this pie recipe was one I adapted from the Chocolate Chess Pie from Disney FamilyFun Magazine. I make this adding ground walnuts to the dry sugar mixture.  If you're a purist or allergic to nuts, eliminate the walnuts, and it will still be great!

Chocolate Chess Pie

Your favorite 9-inch deep-dish piecrust (in a pinch I use Trader Joe's piecrust)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces 65%-70% chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup ground walnuts (whirl them in the blender)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Whipped cream

1. Prebake the pieshell.

2. Put the butter in the top of a double-boiler set over, but not in, slow-simmering water (or place a heat-safe glass or metal bowl in a similarly sized pot). Scatter the chocolate over the butter without mixing and let it stand until the chocolate and butter have melted, about 6 minutes. Whisk the chocolate mixture until it's smooth, then remove it from the heat and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool.

3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the sugar, cornmeal, salt, cinnamon and walnuts. In another bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and yolk. Add them to the sugar mixture, along with the milk and vanilla, and whisk together until they're evenly blended. Then whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth and pour the filling into the cooled piecrust.

4. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake it for 35 minutes. Rotate it 180 degrees, then continue to bake until it puffs up and forms a thin crusty layer, about 20 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve it slightly warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream.

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