My pie obsession is getting a bit out of hand. On the fourth of July I baked a bourbon vanilla cherry pie with a cinnamon sugar lattice crust (easier than it looks!) and the minute the pan was scraped clean, I was already dreaming about the next one.
After a week in hot and sticky Colorado, it hit me: cold, creamy chocolate pie. The perfect antidote to weather so hot your makeup slides down your face. Plus, when you inevitably have pie all over your mug, nobody will notice that mascara on your cheeks. WIN WIN!
The crust is the best part of this pie, so it’s critical to get it right. Luckily, it’s pretty easy. All you need is a pastry cutter and butter butter butter. Channel Paula Deen if it helps, that chunky minx. The filling is a swirl of espresso and chocolately goodness, with fluffy whipped cream on top. And whatever you do, don’t forget the dark chocolate curls* on top.
If your lipstick is on your chin, make this pie statly. And if it’s not, well then good for you. But you probably should still make this pie. Oh, don’t be like that. Just go do it.
CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO PIE
. Two sticks (one cup) of extra cold butter
. 2.5 cups of flour
. 1 tablespoon sugar
. 1 teaspoon salt
. 4-6ish tablespoons ice water
. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
. 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
. 2 cups whole milk
. 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
. 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
. 1 cup heavy whipping cream
. 2 squares dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 60% dark)
1. Pour a big glass of ice water and set it to the side. We’ll get to this in a minute. Then, sift together dry crust ingredients, and cut in the cold butter until it’s in pea-sized balls. Don’t over mix or the dough will be chewy. This all makes sense if you’ve made a lot of pie crust before, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend you visit Deb’s pie crust tutorial over at Smitten Kitchen. The woman is a genius in the kitch and she explains it all so well. Scat now! And then come back. I’ll wait.
2. Once your ingredients are mixed, add water a tablespoon at a time until your dough can be formed into a ball. The water, like the butter, should be ice cold. It should be mentioned that grandma, my pie mentor, is always quite cautious with the water and is pretty stingy about it. She caps it at 4 tablespoons, but she is also a pie savant. I am only pie average, so I use as much water as it takes to get nice, well formed dough, somewhere around 6 tablespoons usually.
3. Roll out the crust gently, using a well-floured rolling pin. Don’t let it thin too much, and try not to roll it out more than once. Pie crust is a delicate little flower, so be gentle with it. IF it does get thin, pinch it together where needed and then transfer it over to the pie pan. I like to use two big spatulas, if I’m pie-ing it up alone, otherwise I enlist another pair of hands. Crust transferring is tricky business. If it ends up looking like this (photo below), that’s okay, just sort it out as best you can. This is the best part about pie – NOBODY CAN SEE INSIDE IT. Except for you, because I just showed you. Is showing someone your pie crust the culinary equivalent of flashing? Hm.
4. Prick some small holes in the crust with a fork, fill the crust with pie weights or dry beans and pre-bake for 15 minutes on 350. DON’T think “hmm, I have no dry beans nor weights, so instead I shall fill this crust with something else, like, oh I don’t know, RICE! What a great idea!” Hey guess what? That’s not a great idea. It’s actually a crap idea. You didn’t know that in the moment, I’m sure, but I’ll just put you out of your misery right now. Do not fill your pie with anything but beans or pie weights. If you haven’t either of these, do not fill your pie. Just pre-bake it and hope for the best. Otherwise you will be picking rice grains out of your beautiful pie crust, which would be weird, because who would do that? I don’t know who. Someone. Someone who is very nice and pretty and only average at pie, but trying. Yeah, probably them. Ahem.
5. It’s time for filling! You can make this gorgeous pudding, or you can use a box of chocolate pudding mix. It’s up to you. Remember how we’re not being pretentious about food? Yeah, THAT. No judgement. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder in heavy medium saucepan.Gradually whisk in the milk over medium heat until everything boils and thickens. This should take about three minutes.
6. Take it off the stove, whisk in the chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla extract until it’s smooth, then cover and let it chill for about two hours. Go take a nap.
6. Once your pie crust cools, fill it with chilled pudding and let the whole shebang sit for at least an hour. Once it’s all gelled together, beat whipping cream on high for two minutes, smooth that fluff over the top and shave on the chocolate curls. A vegetable peeler makes the perfect dainty little curls, just watch your fingers. This is chocolate pie, not finger pie, people. Safety first.
Eat that pie, baby. Eat it real good.
*Wouldn’t it be awesome if that were a gym maneuver? Instead of bicep curls, chocolate curls? Anybody want to start a petition? I’ll sign.