ofstarsandstone ([personal profile] ofstarsandstone) wrote2009-11-11 02:36 pm

LJ Idol Week 4 - Moments of Devastating Beauty

A Dark Alchemy.

That's what I'm calling the pie recipe I made this weekend. It started off its life as the "Midnight Mocha Pie with Cafe Au Lait Crust" in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book, but that is just too boring a name for the pie that resulted from their recipe + my slight alterations.

(For those of you reading this via a direct link on LJ Idol, if you want you can skip the recipe and go down to the "~*~*~" part. On my friend's list the recipe is under a cut-tag)

A Dark Alchemy


1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats (not oatmeal, not quick oats)
1/2 C whole barley flour (can substitute whole wheat)
1/3 C whole wheat pastry flour (can substitute unbleached all purpose)
1/4 C confectioner's sugar
heaping 1/4 t salt
6 T (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/4 t espresso powder (you can use any instant espresso mix, though I used this brand)
2 1/2 - 3 T milk or cream, divided (I used heavy whipping cream)

4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C dark brown sugar
1/4 t salt
4 large eggs (I used cage-free vegetarian-fed brown eggs)
1/3 C Dutch process cocoa (I used Hershey's because it's what I had here at the house, but I'd love to try the recipe again with this. Have I mentioned I ADORE King Arthur Flour??)
2 1/2 T coffee liqueur (or equal amt strong brewed coffee- I used Kahlua)
1 T cold milk or cream (once again, I used heavy whipping cream)
2 1/2 t espresso powder (same as above)
1 t vanilla extract
2 T cornmeal
2/3 C chocolate chips or chipped chocolate. I STRONGLY recommend chipping your own chocolate from a bittersweet bar. I used Green & Blacks Dark 85% cacao. AMAZING


To prepare the crust:

Grind oats in a food processor for 30 seconds. Transfer ground oats to a medium bowl and stir in flours, sugar, and salt. Work butter into dry ingredients using fingers, pastry blender, or a fork until evenly crumbly. Dissolve espresso powder in 1 tablespoon of cream and sprinkle liquid into dry ingredients. Add remaining cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is cohesive (when you pick it up, it tends to retain its shape). Shape dough into a disk and roll on its edge on a floured work surface to smooth the edges. Pat until 1 inch thick, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably 1 to 3 days. You heard me right. 3 DAYS. True alchemy takes time.

30 minutes prior to preparing the pie, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow the dough to warm for 15-30 minutes so it will become flexible. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a work surface and roll dough into a 12 inch circle. (If you plan to make pie dough often, I cannot recommend highly enough purchasing a pie mat. They show you exactly how big to roll out your dough for whatever size pie you are making. Some of the all-purpose mats give you a grid for rolling out just about anything you want). Transfer dough to a regular (not deep dish, but at least 1 1/4 inches deep) 9 inch pie pan. (Another neat tool to have for this is a large kitchen scraper). Trim dough and crimp edges. Put prepared pan back in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling:

Beat butter, sugars, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly but thoroughly. You want to combine the ingredients without adding too much air. Stir in cocoa, liqueur, cream, espresso powder, and vanilla. In a food processor, grind cornmeal and chipped chocolate. Stir chocolate mixture into batter. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, shielding the crust after 20 minutes. (For the love of all the gods, if you are a pie baker, get a pie shield. I haven't got one, and taking the pie out of the oven to carefully place foil around the edges is a pain in my patootie. Just sayin). Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before refrigerating overnight. The pie will look liquidy when removed from the oven, but will set up after being refrigerated.


Prior to making this pie, the only chocolate pie I'd ever eaten (other than Boston Creme, but that's not really a pie...) was the one some of you may have been unfortunate enough to experience at a family gathering at some point in your holiday past. That "pie" is basically just chocolate pudding inside of a tasteless white flour crust. In fact, if the crust were to have any flavor notes at all, I would call them bitter/acrid/a little like feet.

This is not that pie. For one thing, this crust has flavor. Allowing the dough to rest in your refrigerator for a few days makes the tiny hint of espresso powder you add to the crust just SING. The texture of the crust is dense and chewy, like an apple or pumpkin pie crust, not phyllo-y like the evil chocolate pie of my childhood.

But the crust is just the beginning (that is, if you eat your pie like I do. I always eat the crust end first). The filling is where the truly dark alchemy happens.

I do not know how or why, but the "setting up" the King Arthur Flour book claims will occur with refrigeration never quite happened with my pie. And let me tell you that was a very, very good thing. The top of the pie formed a crust, as advertised in the book, a little like the thin crispy layer on the top of fudge brownies. As a matter of fact much of the pie was a similar consistency to a very dense, wet, and intense chocolate brownie. But the true joy of this pie revealed itself within the first slice.

As I cut into the pie for the first time, I had no idea what lay within its dark depths. But when I pulled the slice away from the pie, out spilled a rich black syrup. It was a surprise, like cutting into one of those chocolate lava cakes thinking you've just got a regular old mini-bundt cake. Placing my slice on the waiting plate, I could not resist swiping up some of the syrup with my finger. And ah, my taste buds! I've never tasted anything quite like it. Far more than the sum of its parts, it still resonated with hints of kahlua and espresso, bittersweet Green & Blacks, and Hershey's Dutch process cocoa. I have no idea how the syrup formed in the center of the pie- above and below the syrup layer the filling formed denser brownie-like layers. Most pies are wet by nature (think of the rich fruity syrup formed in blueberry pie, for example), so I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but whatever strange alchemy occurred truly did produce dessert gold.

This syrup would make an excellent topping for vanilla ice cream, and I would have jumped at a chance to pair the two had I any in the house at the time. If you make this recipe for a gathering, be sure to buy a half gallon of vanilla bean Breyers to serve with it. And although you need to keep the pie refrigerated, I'd recommend heating the slices for just a few seconds in the microwave, then adding a scoop of ice cream on top before serving.

I dare you to make this pie. Take a bite. Your tastebuds will sing out with pleasure at the devastatingly dark beauty in the marriage of chocolate and espresso. Go ahead. Try it.

(EDIT- I had one slice left, so I took some pictures. What good is a food blog without photographic proof?)
A Dark Alchemy
A slice of dark beauty.

Dripping with Syrup
See how the chocolate flows...

[identity profile] phoenixejc.livejournal.com 2009-11-11 09:30 pm (UTC)(link)
oh, yummy!!!! I know what's going to Thanksgiving dinner at Mom's this year!!!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Glad I could influence a family dessert menu! I'm probably going to be bringing a cranberry surprise pie to my Thanksgiving. (The surprise is a cheesecake center...way yummy).

Let me know how it turns out- I'd like to know other people's experiences with the syrupy insides.

(no subject)

[identity profile] phoenixejc.livejournal.com - 2009-11-17 12:43 (UTC) - Expand
shadowwolf13: (Default)

[personal profile] shadowwolf13 2009-11-11 10:15 pm (UTC)(link)
That sounds fantastic! The thanksgiving menu is already set but I can certainly see adding this to Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing! :)

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:56 pm (UTC)(link)
You're welcome! Let me know if you try it/how it turns out. I'm curious to see if everyone gets the same syrup effect.

[identity profile] libra-dragon.livejournal.com 2009-11-11 10:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I am really hungry now. That looks so yummy

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
It was amazing. Wish I could share more than just the picture.

[identity profile] stormkitty.livejournal.com 2009-11-11 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I think I just gained 5 pounds looking at this. :)

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww, it's only 400 calories a slice.

But it has 2g of fiber, which ought to count for something!

[identity profile] lawchicky.livejournal.com 2009-11-12 01:31 am (UTC)(link)
Oh sweet chocolate! My taste buds are now craving this pie!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd send out slices if I could!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] rejeneration.livejournal.com 2009-11-12 07:21 pm (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Definitely delicious.

[identity profile] brand0new0day.livejournal.com 2009-11-12 10:45 pm (UTC)(link)
*drool* I can't eat things like this, damn it! Looks fabulous, though. Wish I could. :/

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww, I'm sorry. I'm not supposed to eat things like this, but sometimes I do anyway.

[identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com 2009-11-13 12:13 am (UTC)(link)
OMG! I want it NOWWWW!!!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:51 pm (UTC)(link)
It is rather delicious. ^_^

[identity profile] onda-bianca.livejournal.com 2009-11-13 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my chicken pie. (Well, not literally chicken pie...but you know what I mean!) That looks scrumptious and tasty and delicious and I may need to make it:)

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-13 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
Mrs Tweedy: Chickens go in, pies come out.
Mr Tweedy: What kinds of pies?
Mrs Tweedy: Apple.

My favorite exchange from Chicken Run.

[identity profile] plastrickland23.livejournal.com 2009-11-13 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I gained 5 lbs just reading this! Mmmmm... P.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I tell myself it's "healthy" because it's made with whole grains.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/____hejira/ 2009-11-13 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Aaah i don't have half the tools it takes to make that pie like magic! I want it!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I love my kitchen gadgets. I have a co-dependent relationship with my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Maybe someone will perfect teleportation, and I'll be able to send slices instantly via the internet!

[identity profile] battle-kitten.livejournal.com 2009-11-13 11:20 pm (UTC)(link)
....*drools* I may have to try this now, thanks!

[identity profile] faerie-spark.livejournal.com 2009-11-14 01:05 am (UTC)(link)
Mmmm! I'm a foodie, so this was a delight to read. Your descriptions are truly vivid and tempting.

This sentence made me laugh out loud:

In fact, if the crust were to have any flavor notes at all, I would call them bitter/acrid/a little like feet.

Good work! I wish I could come over for pie.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! One of my secret desires is to write a full time food blog. I even have a premise- the DIY Kitchen. The idea would be to make as many of your ingredients as possible from scratch (including pasta/bread/sauces/etc).

It's a 180 from most of the cooking fads that are all about 30 minute meals. I understand that most of us live fast-food lives, but I want to celebrate the art of food.

Maybe someday I'll get it started.

[identity profile] joeymichaels.livejournal.com 2009-11-14 04:31 am (UTC)(link)
I started drooling at "Dutch process cocoa" and didn't stop until the end of the entry. I am drooling now. :D

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I made fudge cookies with Dutch process cocoa last Christmas, and everyone drooled all over them and couldn't understand how they were so much awesomer than usual. Eventually I gave away the secret.

[identity profile] cacophonesque.livejournal.com 2009-11-14 03:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Ok, you sold me. I'm all about pie. Sounds awesome! And thanks for the recipe.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Mmmm pie. I love pie, too. Although I just love to bake, period.

Have fun with the recipe!

[identity profile] beautyofgrey.livejournal.com 2009-11-14 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Mmm, this looks amazing.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:37 pm (UTC)(link)
If only transporter technology was available, I would send slices to everyone who commented. ^_^

[identity profile] tigrkittn.livejournal.com 2009-11-15 02:08 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my gosh this pie looks and sounds amazing!!! What a great take on the subject, and thanks for sharing the recipe- I've copied it to text to try over the holidays!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:37 pm (UTC)(link)
You'll have to let me know if you get the same awesome syrup effect. One thing to note is that I did pull the pie completely out of the oven for about a minute in the middle of baking to add my foil crust shield. That may have contributed to the syrup somehow.

[identity profile] imafarmgirl.livejournal.com 2009-11-15 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
Yummy. That sounds so good! I love to bake.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Baking is definitely one of the great joys of life. If it paid well, I would totally go work at a bakery.

[identity profile] mstrobel.livejournal.com 2009-11-15 07:32 am (UTC)(link)
That looks AMAZING. I might have to steal this recipe :D

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Feel free! Try your own alterations- that's always part of the fun for me.

[identity profile] dreamchaser.livejournal.com 2009-11-15 11:25 pm (UTC)(link)
That looks sooooo good. I will have to try and make it sometime.

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Just remember to start the crust at least the night before, like you would do a starter for yeast bread. It's really worth it, and it makes the crust a lot chewier and softer after baking.

[identity profile] roina-arwen.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 05:52 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, that looks delicious!

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:32 pm (UTC)(link)
It was pretty amazing. I had fun making it, and even more fun eating it!

[identity profile] comedychick.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 01:29 pm (UTC)(link)
That looks delicious... but I'm not a fan of coffee flavour. How strong is the flavour, and if it's too strong, could it be substituted for something else?

[identity profile] alisandre.livejournal.com 2009-11-16 10:30 pm (UTC)(link)
The strongest flavor other than extreme chocolate is actually the Kahlua, but that is technically "coffee" flavored. Here are some other possibilities.

-Espresso powder in the crust can be removed entirely. Just add the first tablespoon of milk/cream without dissolving the espresso powder and proceed from there. This might make the crust a little too sweet, however, so you may want to cut a little sugar to compensate.
-Espresso powder in the filling should not be omitted entirely, as its purpose is mostly to bring out the flavor of the chocolate. Just put in 1/2 T or 1 T instead of 2 1/2.
-Kahlua can be substituted with any other flavor liqueur you like. Hazelnut might be nice. Maybe peppermint schnapps? Orange chocolate is a good holiday combo if you can find a nice orange liqueur. If you don't want to use a flavor at all, you'll need to replace the liquid. Try 1 extra T of milk/cream and an extra 1 T of vanilla extract.

I cannot promise that this last sustitution will create the liquid awesome, however. I think at least part of the strange alchemy was the result of the Kahlua...

(no subject)

[identity profile] comedychick.livejournal.com - 2009-11-16 23:48 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] walkertxkitty.livejournal.com 2009-11-17 04:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahhh...how dare you excite my chocolate addiction and feed my food porn tendencies! Foodgasm! I have simply got to try the recipe now. Good writing!

[identity profile] emo-snal.livejournal.com 2009-11-17 05:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Mmmm looks/sounds tasty (:

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