Goodbye, Jenna, Chocolate Pie

There’s nothing more bittersweet than watching one of your favorite playmates move on to more prosperous pastures, especially one that liked to watch god-awful sci-fi action flicks with you.

Jenna, Me

From watching aliens blow up Chicago to gushing over local farmer’s markets, and from playing flip-cup to discussing the overlapping themes in The Passage, Jenna…you will be missed, lady.

Lisa, Jess, and Jenna at the goodbye dinner at Tallula

In honor of my younger friend–who often reignited my long-dormant passions for tequila shots at seedy bars and clubbing at places where the people are too young to remember that Justin Timberlake was once in a boy band–I made this chocolate pie. Because, as Jenna always says, “If it’s not chocolate, why bother?”

This pie has a crust that’s very easy to make and manipulate, and is mixed with espresso for a little something extra. The filling, though pretty much just plain chocolate, gets its thick and glistening consistency from eggs and a bit of cornmeal. But the best part is the exquisite mix of dutch-process cocoa, coffee, and Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur that makes the chocolate taste just a bit like Nutella). Another great characteristic? The pie makes its own light and crisp-crackly topping.

So, Jenna, if you ever need someone to send you a care package while you’re busy being ultra-smart in law school, you know where to ask. And if you ever need someone to cover you while you make the final run to disable the mother ship that could take over the world, you know I’ve got your back with my makeshift shotgun and badass combat boots.

Go get em’, woman 😉

*NOTE: You will need to make this pie the day before, since it needs to set overnight in the fridge.

[Recipe from King Arthur Flour. Serves 8-12]

Equipment:

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • A heaping 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbl. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. espresso powder
  • 5 Tbl. whole milk, half and half or cream

Filling:

  • 4 Tbl. unsalted butter, cut into slices
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa [dutch process means that most of the acidity has been processed out of the cocoa, making it more ‘chocolate-y’ tasting. I used KAF’s double-dutch dark cocoa, which is a blend of dutch-process and dark cocoa. It’s also just 10% fat, so it’s lower in fat and calories as compared to solid chocolate]
  • 2 Tbl. Frangelico or Kahlua, a coffee liqueur [can also use amaretto for almond, Grand Marnier for orange, or Framboise for raspberry]
  • 1 Tbl. cold whole milk or cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 2 Tbl. yellow or white cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Crust: Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work the cold butter into the dry ingredients using the dough cutter until the dough is crumbly. Dissolve the espresso powder in 1 Tbl. milk. Pour this and up to another 4 Tbl. milk into the dough a little at a time. Once your dough isn’t dry or crumbly when pushed together, it’s ready. Shape the dough into a disk, about 1-inch thick and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle some flour on a work surface. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish [do not use a deep pie dish, but make sure it’s at least 1 1/4 inches deep] and trim and crimp the edges. Place in the fridge.

Filling: Beat the butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating slowly but thoroughly after each addition–you want to combine them but not beat in a lot of air. Stir in the cocoa, liqueur, milk, and vanilla on low speed.

Using a food processor, grind together the espresso powder, cornmeal, and chocolate chips. Add to the batter on low speed. Pour the batter into the crust. Bake for 45 min., placing a crust shield after 20 min. Remove the pie and let cool completely to room temp. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve with whipped cream 😉 Keeps about a week in the fridge.

A little goes a long way

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