Thanksgiving will be on top of us in just a matter of days, and I find myself reflecting on the fact that I did nothing to prepare my body for the real workout that’s ahead.
So, here I sit.
Thinking about pie.
At other times of the year, pie isn’t even on my radar. In fact, when my husband and I have friends over for dinner, it often doesn’t even occur to me to make something sweet. Knowing this about me, our guests occasionally offer to bring their own dessert. I’m with the French. Give me cheese or another glass of wine, and I’m good.
My desire for pie right now is based on the following logic — if I make a pie during the holidays and take it to an outside gathering of friends, I can enjoy one piece and absentmindedly leave the rest behind. No pie in my house equals no guilt, no regrets, and I still get to indulge in a glorious hunk of rich chocolate baked goodness, like the pie in the recipe I am going to share with you.
My Incredible Dark Chocolate Brownie Triple Nut Pie is exactly what it says it is — a dark chocolate brownie filled with a trio of nuts baked inside of a pie crust. Pretty extreme, huh? A version of it was given to me by my mother several years ago with no memory of where it came from, so as I do with all recipes that come my way, I adapted it to suit my palette. Her version, as do most I found during my internet research, called for a ready-made crust, cheap ingredients, and only one kind of nut (typically pecan, followed closely by walnut). Oh, and more sugar than my savory-leaning palette typically cares for.
So, with no solid clue as to who first developed the recipe, and with literally hundreds of variations available, essentially what you are getting in my version is (a) my process, (b) my suggested additions, alterations, and omissions, and (c) my story. You did come for the story, right? It’s easy to put together, tastes really decadent, and I guarantee it will make any chocolate lover happy — even those who think that white chocolate is chocolate. It’s not.
A few other things I want to share before we get started… I am going to guess that my take on an over shared recipe tastes notches above the rest of what’s on the internet. Why? I buy the best, most flavorful ingredients I can afford — from cocoa powder, coarse sea salt, and olive oil, there really is a difference. So go for the good stuff. Also, I added an equipment list and very detailed instructions for first time pie makers. As with any recipe, read through this first, then gather your equipment. Now you can bake!
THE INCREDIBLE DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIE TRIPLE NUT PIE
- Estimated prep time after you’ve gathered your equipment and ingredients: 40 minutes
- Cooking time: 30-35 minutes 10″ tart pan / 35-40 minutes 9″ pie dish
- Preheat oven: 375 degrees
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden mixing spoons
- Medium-sized whisk
- Cookie sheet (can use aluminum foil)
- 10″ tart pan (preferred) or 9″ pie dish
- Food processor
- Small and medium mixing bowls
- Glass, microwave safe, liquids measuring cup
- Piping bag (create a simple piping bag by cutting a tiny bit off the corner of a baggie)
- 1/2 cup multi-grain oats mixture (oats, rye, barley and wheat) or plain rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can use spelt, but has a more bitter taste)
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (raw, less processed than white)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup ice cold water (filtered is best)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lightly salted butter (European-style if you can find it)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (use a good one)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder (Valrhona is a favorite among chefs)
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts and filberts (1/3 cup each)
- A good coarse sea salt (to taste)
- 2 large squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I used Scharfenberger semi-sweet)
- Coarse sea salt (again, to taste)
- Chopped or whole nuts, if desired
Directions for Crust:
- Spread the oat mixture evenly over your cookie sheet, then place it on a middle oven rack. Toast for 7 minutes.
- While the oat mixture is toasting, dump the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into your food processor. Pulse 3 times.
- Remove oat mixture from oven, being careful not to spill them all over your nice, clean floor, and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Stop and pet your dog who is patiently waiting for floor offerings, then wash your hands.
- Coat your tart pan very lightly with olive oil. Skip this step if using a non-stick pan.
- Add the oat mixture to the flour mixture. Pulse 12 times to break up the oats. Don’t over process so that you leave some texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, briskly whisk together the cold water and olive oil until it develops a buttery looking consistency.
- Pour the mixture over the flour/oat mixture and pulse until a dough starts coming together, 12-15 times or until all ingredients are moistened and beginning to form a ball. Be careful not to over process.
- Remove dough from processor (be sure to unplug processor first to avoid a bloody mess and a Sunday trip to the emergency room), adding any loose bits into the dough ball.
- Flatten the dough ball between your hands, then place it in the middle of the tart pan, spreading it evenly to form the crust. Work the dough to the edges and up the sides of the pan, gently filling it into and up to top of the flutes. To avoid oily fingers, you can lay plastic wrap over the mixture while you work it, however, it’s like working in garden soil without gloves — it’s good to feel what I’m doing.
- Cover the dough-laden pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill while you’re making the brownie mix. Note: If you’re using a tart pan with a removable bottom, when you pick it up be careful that you don’t pop it up and ruin your beautiful crust!
Directions for Filling:
- Heat the butter for 30-40 seconds in the microwave (use the glass measuring cup you used for the oil and water mixture to save on clean-up). Stir in the cocoa powder and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- While the chocolate mixture is cooling, in a medium-sized bowl, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and the eggs.
- If you have whole walnuts, pecans and filberts, go ahead and coarsely chop them now.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the sugar, syrup and egg mixture, then stir really well with a wooden spoon. Next, stir in the nuts.
- Remove the tart pan with the crust from the refrigerator, and set it on a flat surface. Pour the chocolate nut mixture into the shell. The mixture WILL fill to the top.
- Place the pie in the oven on a middle rack and bake for 30 minutes. At that time, check to see if the center is slightly firm. If it gives too much, cook it for 5 additional minutes, but no more.
- Remove pie from oven. Lightly sprinkle a coarse finishing sea salt (not the finer milled cooking sea salt) over the top of the pie. Trust me.
- Now is the time to get fancy. In the microwave, melt 2 large squares of semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter (okay to reuse that glass measuring cup again). Let it cool for a few minutes before you fill your piping bag. Decorate the pie however you wish with swirls, stripes, criss-crosses, and even nuts, if you wish.
- Add a few more light sprinkles of coarse sea salt over the freshly piped chocolate. Again, trust me. Allow the chocolate to harden a bit prior to slicing and serving.
Have any questions or see any glaring omissions? Let me know! This is the first recipe I’ve written for this blog, so my fingers are crossed that it will come out perfect for you!