Dark Chocolate Raspberry-Chambord Pie

Recently I made a pie for an event that was supposed to represent who I am…no pressure 😉 Listing all of the foods I associate with my life, I narrowed it down to something that gave me my first nickname-Mademoiselle Framboise (Miss Raspberry). When I was growing up, I used to summer in France with my French relatives (oh yes, how posh), and while spending time with them I used to ravage my great-grandmother’s raspberry crop. A little boy, who, being French, was already chasing little girls, would steal some of his father’s carnations from his shop next door and bring them to me. Being the little lady I was at the time, I thought it only fair I offer him some of my precious raspberries in return. “Merci, Mademoiselle Framboise,” he would say.

(Clockwise) Mlle. Framboise; my great-grandmother, Adelaide; my mother, Chantal; my grandfather, Ferdinand Cormont; and my step-grandmother, Fernande Cormont.

Nothing much has changed since then in regard to raspberries-I eat them by the handful-except as the years have gone by I don’t usually receive carnations in return 😉 I’ve also developed a deep affinity for chocolate.

My aunt, Francoise Andre; me; my late uncle, Jean-Claude Andre; my step-grandmother; and my grandfather. (At Fougerolles-Du-Plessis in north-western France)

I hope you enjoy my ‘Summers in France’ pie-it’s a bit different from other choc-rasp pies, as the raspberry is highlighted more so than the chocolate, but I think there’s just enough to offset the tartness. The chocolate crust also has a little je ne sais quoi, thanks to a bit of walnut; and the added layer of dark chocolate underneath the raspberry filling gives a nice little surprise. Et voila!

Equipment:

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely ground (to toast walnuts: bake in 350-degree oven for 7 min. Grind in a food processor once cooled)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (I like to use unbleached pastry flour for these kinds of crusts-makes a super soft and tender crust)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed (once the butter is cubed, I like to put it in the freezer)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 Tbl. thickener (you can use cream of tartar but I prefer ClearJel because it doesn’t leave any aftertaste or cloud the filling)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar, or to taste

For the decorations (optional):

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2-4 Tbl. Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur). Water or fruit juice also works.

Crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and walnuts. Cut in the cold butter until it resembles coarse meal. *Note: at this point, I like to put on disposable gloves, which keeps the heat of your hands from the dough. Mix in the egg, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. Flatten, cover, and chill about 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round and place in a BUTTERED 9-inch pie dish (don’t worry if your crust breaks in places-just patch once most of the crust is in the dish). Cut off the excess and save (place scraps back in the fridge). Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and place a BUTTERED wax paper sheet on top of the crust and fill with pie weights. Bake in the middle of your preheated oven directly on the rack, NOT on a baking sheet, for 9 min. Remove the paper and the weights. Prick the bottom of the crust lightly again to keep it from rising and bake another 4-5 min. Note: the crust should NOT be a brown color, but much lighter. If it’s dark brown, it’s burned. Let crust cool.

Filling: Place the chopped chocolate in the crust. Spread evenly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together the sugar, thickener, and salt. Stir in the lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar mix over the raspberries and stir. Let sit for 15 min.

Optional: In the meantime, make your decorations by taking out the excess crust from the fridge and making your cut-outs.

Pour the filling into the crust, making sure the chocolate is still on the bottom. Place your crust cut-outs on top of the filling, making sure there’s enough space for your filling to bubble and breathe. Bake about 20 min. directly on the rack with a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any spills. Remove and let cool.

Optional: Once the pie is cool, heat the raspberry jam in a small saucepan on low heat, stirring, until soft. Add the Chambord and stir until it becomes thinner and glaze-like, about 5 min. Place raspberries on the pie (I usually do this on the spaces I left open for the filling to breathe). Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze on the raspberries.

Pie will keep in the fridge about 1 1/2 weeks.

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