Excerpted from Desserts From the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman (Artisan Books). Copyright 2011. Photo by Karen Mordechai
Makes a 9-inch Pie, Serves 8
One of the most popular desserts here at the Loveless Cafe, this “fudge pie” gets its richness from using melted chocolate rather than cocoa powder. When baking, this pie can go two ways: Take it out when the center still shimmies slightly, and you’ll have a creamy, almost puddinglike chocolate pie. Leave it in for another 10 minutes, and the top will puff up, yielding a denser, fudgy pie.
9-inch pie shell, partially baked (see page 49)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the partially baked pie shell on a sturdy baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and 1⁄2 cup of the half-and-half. On the defrost or low heat setting, microwave for 1 minute. Whisk lightly and then repeat until the mixture is melted and smooth. Make sure the mixture is warmed just enough to melt the chocolate; the hotter this chocolate cream gets, the less creamy the baked pie will be.
3. Place the brown sugar in a separate bowl and break up any lumps. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually whisk about one-quarter of this egg mixture into the chocolate and blend well. It is important to whisk in the eggs slowly and steadily. Continue adding the eggs while whisking until all are combined. Pour the chocolate custard into the pie shell.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is puffy and set around the edges but the center still shimmies. If you want a denser pie, bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until it puffs up evenly. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until set completely, 3 to 4 hours.
5. To make a chocolate sauce, place the chocolate chips and remaining 1 tablespoon half-and-half in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on low heat until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir until smooth.
6. Mound the whipped cream over the pie, spreading it to the edges. Drizzle the warm chocolate sauce over the whipped cream in a random pattern. Serve at once or refrigerate for up to a day.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Makes about 2 ¾ cups
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
How to Make a Partially Baked Pie Shell
This technique is for a pie shell you’ve made yourself or a frozen or refrigerated crust you’ve purchased. The time and temperature called for here result in what is technically a “blind-baked shell,” cooked just enough to hold a filling without turning soggy and to allow further baking without darkening the rim.
1. If using homemade Flaky Pie Dough (opposite), roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully fold into quarters or wrap over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the dough into the pan without stretching. Trim the edges to leave an overhang of about ½ inch. Fold under and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell while the oven heats.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Whether using a store-bought prepared shell or homemade pastry, place the pie shell on a sturdy baking sheet to make it easier to maneuver. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with 3 cups dried beans or pie weights.
3. Bake the pie shell for 18 to 20 minutes. The dough should look fairly dry but not at all browned. Remove from the oven. Using a large spoon, scoop out the beans or pie weights. Remove the paper and let the shell cool completely before proceeding with your recipe. Be sure to save the beans; they can be reused many times.
Baking Tip: If you have trouble handling dough successfully, try rolling out the disk on a floured sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. Then you can just lift the paper and invert the dough into the pie dish.