Posted by: thedirtybaker | November 27, 2013

Southern Pie Meets Mexican Spices. Magic Results.

“Hey, Baker Girl, have you ever made chess pie?”  A grad school friend kept hearing about it from a southerner.  No, I’d never heard of it.  So I looked it up in my most southern cookbook: The William and Mary Cookbook.  Sure enough, there were three versions: Great-Grandmother’s Chess Pie, Housemother’s Lemon Chess Pie, and Chocolate Chess Pie.

Lemon Chess Pie was delicious – custardy, with a crispy top and a  pate brisee bottom crust.  Unlike cream pies, the custard bakes in the oven and the bottom crust doesn’t need to be blind baked.  The filling creates its own top crust – it’s brittle, crisp, and very thin and light. It’s even better with homemade whipped cream, but aren’t all desserts?

Then I tried the chocolate chess pie because it’s chocolate. And pie. And chocolate. Unfortunately, cutting into it revealed a top crust, a lot of air, and chocolate sauce on the bottom.  While the chocolate sauce tasted good, it wasn’t a successful pie.  So I tried it again, but baked it with the instructions for the lemon chess pie.  SCOOOOOOOOORE!

Las spring, K and J hosted a carne asada (bbq)  to celebrate K finishing her MSW.  K’s a reliable fan of homemade baked goods, but J used to say that he didn’t like sweets.  (Challenge accepted!) Then he said that he only liked my cinnamon brownies*.  The he liked the Chile Brownies (see previous blog post). So I decided to see if I could mix the Chocolate Chess Pie with the chile brownie spices.

The results:  K was temporarily mute (rare!) with food-bliss. K’s moms were extremely happy.  J found another dessert that he really liked.  And D proposed to me.  When I pointed out that we’re both straight women, she said that we could both have boyfriends, she “just wants the fucking baked goods.”  So, gentlemen, the way to D’s heart is through her stomach.  Too bad I’m not giving her full name, right?

I apparently didn’t write down what I did, so I hope this is right. I’m figuring that since this has ¼ the chocolate, half the sugar, half the eggs, and much less than half the butter that’s in the brownies, I’d max it out at ¼ the spices. I’ll change it later if this isn’t good:

Chocolate Chile Chess Pie

1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz.)
½ c. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
½-1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp – 1 Tbsp ground ancho chile
⅛ tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. vanilla (I use double-strength)
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 300 Fahrenheit.  Melt chocolate with butter and set aside.  Beat the eggs and add the cooled chocolate mixture, sugar, cinnamon, ancho, cayenne, and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake for 60 minutes.
Serve with homemade whipped cream, preferably spiked with a little liqueur.

*My cinnamon brownies are really just Marc Bittman’s Minimalist Brownies with cinnamon added.


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