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 Mama 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?