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Black Bottom Pie

Usually, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal. I try and make a nice dinner, maybe something special. It’s usually grits. I said it. I think grits are sexy. Anyway, I’ve never made a big deal about it. I’m pretty sure last year we ended up watching this show about two guys who should have died on an island after they got shipwrecked. But this year I wanted to do something a little different. This has been a particularly hard winter, I’ve been in a funk and the idea of doing something special just because was really appealing.

So today I worked from home and planned a really sweet night in. I made a nice dinner, complete with both chocolate dipped strawberries and black bottom pie. I chilled a bottle of cava. I put on a fancy dress. I built a fire on a night not remotely cold enough to warrant one. I shaped twizzlers into letters saying things like “I love you” and “D <3 E.” I cut out paper hearts. And I built a fort in our living room.

And I have to say, I’m so glad I did. I needed this. I know Dan loves me every day. I know that everyday I’m incredibly lucky and that everyday I have someone special and kind to come home to, someone that loves me. I celebrate that every day. But it was so refreshing to carve out a little extra special time for us. No, I don’t need an excuse to bake my husband a pie and lie around and snuggle him. But I won’t turn down the opportunity.

Black Bottom Pie

Dough:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 stick butter

1/2 cup water

Filling:

2 cups milk

1 tbsp flavorless gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp corn starch

1 tsp salt

4 egg yolks

Chocolate layer:

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chocolate

Custard Layer:

4 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp almond extract

Topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate for shaving

Start with your pie dough. Sift dry ingredients. Using your hands, work in shortening. Cube butter and work it in. Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal. Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball. Divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove half of the dough from the fridge. Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat). Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick. Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish. Press into the pie dish. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Combine gelatin and cold water. Set aside. Scald milk. Set aside. Combine egg yolks, sugar, salt, and corn starch. Stir in yolks, fully incorporating. Spoon a ladle-full of milk into egg mixture. Stir it in completely. Stir in a second ladle-full. Pour egg/milk mixture into the remaining milk. Over medium heat, stir constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (5-7 minutes). Stir in gelatin. Set aside.

Melt chocolate in a medium size bowl. Stir half of egg/milk mixture into the chocolate. Stir well so there are no lumps. Add vanilla. Pour into pie dish. Refrigerate.

Add almond extract to the remaining custard. In a mixer, whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff. Fold into remaining custard. Spoon into pie dish on top of the chocolate.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff. Spread onto pie. Shave chocolate on top for garnish. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

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Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie was my grandmother Bobbie’s signature fall and winter pie.  It made appearances on every holiday table and was the one pie that made it onto everyone’s dessert plate, along with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Chess pie is a very southern concoction, the basic chess is sugar, eggs, and butter, with different additions changing the pie.  Chess pies can range from tart lemon chess to rich and heavenly chocolate.  Can you tell which one is my preference?

I’ve written about Tar Heel Pie before, a chocolate chess pie with pecans in it.  Apparently Tar Heel Pie is a product of a North Carolina marketing push in the 1980s, a way to assign a signature pie to the Tar Heel state.  And as much as I love that pecany addition, there is something to be said about the basic, original pie.  Rich. Dreamy. Wonderful.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Pie Dough:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup ice water

Filling:

1 cup chocolate chips

1 stick melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp ginger

Start with your pie dough.  Sift dry ingredients.  Using your hands, work in shortening.  Cube butter and work it in.  Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal.  Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball.  Divide in half.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pour hot butter over chocolate chips and stir until fully incorporated.  Whisk together remaining ingredients and add to chocolate.

Remove half of the dough from the fridge.  Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat).  Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick.  Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish.  Press into the pie dish.  Scoop filling into the pie dish.

Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes.

Let cool completely.  Whip together cream, sugar, vanilla, and ginger.  Serve pie topped with whipped cream.

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Ginger & Pear Pie

There is something about the combination of pear, ginger, and vanilla that makes me wild.  It’s sweet but also has this wonderful edge.  I love pears, and pear pie is probably my favorite fruit pie these days, which is why I chose this pie as the first of February’s sweet pies.  Not to mention that the shape of the pear is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in nature.  Soft, gentle, gorgeous.  Can you tell the pie is already getting to my head?

I’ve also decided to take this month-of-pies challenge as a way to work on my photographic creativity.  I went back through my archives recently and made a list of all the posts that I’d like to rephotograph (there were 23, now there are 20!), and it got me thinking about the overall photography of the site.  It’s easy to get into a rut, to take the same photographs over and over again so I want to try and push myself.  Incorporate new angles, new design elements, etc.  Do you have any photographic tricks that you rely on?  Any advice?

Libby over at Edible CVille is joining me and making one pie a week! Are you partaking in the National Pie Month Challenge? Let me know, I’ll be listing the pie bloggers at the end of each post.  See more b&s pie recipes here.

Ginger & Pear Pie

Dough:

Basic pie dough recipe (found here)

1 tbsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

Filling:

6 bartlett pears

1 tbsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp vanilla extract

For glaze:

One egg

Start with your pie dough.  Sift dry ingredients.  Using your hands, work in shortening.  Cube butter and work it in.  Continue to blend until the consistency is that of course cornmeal.  Stir in the water, a little at a time until your dough forms a ball.  Divide in half.  Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Peel and thinly slice your pears.  In a large skillet melt butter.  Add in pears and cook over medium heat.  Mix in spices, sugar, and extract.  Cook 7-10 minutes, or until the pears have softened slightly.  Remove from heat and stir in flour.

Remove half of the dough from the fridge.  Roll it out on a floured, non-stick surface (like a sil-pat).  Roll it out so it is 1 foot x 1 foot wide and 1/4″ thick.  Drape the crust over the rolling pin and transfer it to the pie dish.  Press into the pie dish.  Scoop filling into the pie dish.  Roll out top, repeating the steps, and lay it over the pie.  Press the edges together and remove any excess dough.

Whisk egg and brush over the top of the pie.  Cut slits in the top and bake for 45 minutes at 375.

To serve, whip cream, sugar, ginger, and extract together until stiff.

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