Chocolate Chess Pie
There’s one last piece of this pie in the fridge and it’s taking all sorts of power to not eat it. I promised a friend a piece and hers just happens to be the last one! I need to drop it off for her or she needs to pick it up pronto before our self control runs out.
Pi day! I’m slowly learning all the important food days in the blogosphere and Pi day is one of the big ones. Not Pie day but Pi day - why? Your guess is as good as mine especially since π in Greek is pronounced “P” – which doesn’t sound as appealing as pie. I personally think bloggers need any excuse to celebrate food, me included, so why not take advantage of Pi day too since you can conveniently use the mathematical formula as you slice your pie.
I knew what kind of pie I was making way before as I was planning for Pi day. It was going to be a chocolate chess pie. I love my salty honey pie and always wanted to try a chocolate version. I saw Katie Clova post one and I was dying – and needed to have it. I did a little research because who knew chess pies have so many variations when it comes to egg ratios, along with which type of milk product to use and even the debate about using flour vs cornmeal.
I knew the texture I wanted mine to have and I used Katie Clova’s recipe as a guide along with the thekitchn’s version and closely compared the both of them to my salty honey pie. I have to say it turned out delicious! I think delicious doesn’t even cut it though - every bite was buttery smooth and creamy, with different layers of creaminess too. Just could not get enough of this pie.
The best part is that it’s so easy to make
Just like the salty honey pie, it’s just a matter of making your crust, (which I always make in advance - like the night before) mixing the custard, pouring it in the crust and baking it. It’s a no fuss pie and the perfect dessert to make ahead as well. As I mentioned I make the crust in advance, but I also will bake the pie and refrigerate it up to a day in advance. Perfect for company. I make the whip cream topping just before I serve it and you can either serve it cold or allow it to come to room temperature before adding the whip cream topping.
It’s a total crowd pleaser as very few can resist a luscious chocolate desert. The original recipe called for a sweeter whip topping but I think less sugar is better to offset the sweet chocolate custard layer, but do add more sugar if you prefer it a little sweeter. I used my go to pie crust recipe because its simple and always - like always even when I think it’s a fail it yields a tender, flaky with the right amount of crispness, pie crust. You can use mine or anyone you feel comfortable with though.
This sweet and creamy filing would go wonderfully with a buttermilk based pie crust too. The slight tang would be great with the rich chocolate. That’s the same pie crust I used in the salty honey pie. Are you sick of hearing about that salty honey pie yet? Sorry it’s only the pie that changed my life and view of pies. So glad I got to eat that life-changing pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. Anyways since then I’m a convert from cake to pie. I never really understood the fuss, and that’s because I had never had a great pie before then (sad but true). More like mediocre pies that I could take or leave after one bite. I’m learning a lot about them now and although my decorating needs work and I’m building up to a basic lattice, I’m totally loving them and now fully appreciate the fuss!
Although this pie has no fancy lattice or cutout work, its pleases the palate immensely with all the creamy sweet textures and that flaky tender buttery crust. Who could ask for a more perfect dessert? Definitely not me! Give this a go and let me know how you feel about it.
For the pie crust (makes 1 single pie crust)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted very cold butter
- 4-8 tablespoons ice water, divided
- 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash)
For the filling
- ¼ cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon fine cornmeal
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar or plain white vinegar
For the chocolate whipped topping
- 2¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 heaping tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Alternatively, if making crust by hand, whisk the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl.
Remove the butter from the fridge and cut it into several small cubes.
Scatter the cubes of butter over the surface of the flour in the food processor and pulse 15 to 25 times until the mixture resembles cornmeal with pieces of butter no larger than a pea. Alternatively, cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingertips but do not overwork.
Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the butter-flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Check to see if the dough is holding together by squeezing a bit of it in your hand — if it holds together, it’s ready; if it breaks apart easily, add a little more water one tbsp at a time. The final dough should not come together in as a typical dough, but you should see no more powdery flour and the dough should just be starting to clump together in large crumbs. Alternatively, sprinkle the water over the flour and use two forks to toss the flour to combine. Test the dough and add more water as described above, handling the dough as little as possible with your hands.
Turn the pie dough out onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to very quickly gather and press the shaggy dough into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days (or freeze for up to 3 months; defrost in the fridge overnight before using).
When ready to use remove the dough disk from fridge, sprinkle your clean working surface and rolling pin with flour. Unwrap the dough and lay it on top of the flour. Working from the middle of the dough outwards, roll the dough into a circle approx 12 inches in diameter (a few inches larger than your pie pan). Be careful to work the dough as little as possible. If the dough cracks when you first start rolling, let it stand for one minute to warm slightly before rolling again. Use more flour if the dough starts to stick. Use a pastry scraper to lift the pastry from the work surface and make sure it’s not sticking.
Lay your rolling pin on one edge of the pie crust and begin gently rolling the pie crust over the rolling pin with the help of dough scraper if needed. When it’s all rolled up, move it to the 9 inch pie pan (NOT deep dosh for this recipe) and gently unroll it into the pie plate and shape or ease it into the plate. Trim the pie dough edges and crimp them using your finger or a fork. Then place the dough in the fridge while you make the filling.
Once ready to bake preheat oven to 375°F and place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats
In the meantime make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
Stir in the melted butter until just to combine.
Add the eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vinegar and mix just until combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and brush the crust with egg wash.
Remove the baking sheet from oven and place pie directly on it then bake the pie at 375°F for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for approx 25-30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and innermost circle of pie is puffed up and still just a bit jiggly.
Remove and cool to room temperature (3hours) then store in fridge if not serving immediately.
Once cooled, prepare the whipped cream topping. Beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie and serve with a dusting of cocoa powder.