Thoroughbred Pie

From Cook's Country | April​/May 2011
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Why this recipe works:

The majority of Thoroughbred Pie recipes that we prepared were far too sweet. We reduced the amount of sugar to almost half of what was called for in some recipes. Brown sugar contributed a hint of spice and depth, while more neutral white sugar ensured that the nuts and chocolate weren’t… read more

The majority of Thoroughbred Pie recipes that we prepared were far too sweet. We reduced the amount of sugar to almost half of what was called for in some recipes. Brown sugar contributed a hint of spice and depth, while more neutral white sugar ensured that the nuts and chocolate weren’t eclipsed. To bring more balance to the pie, we replaced semisweet chocolate chips with chopped bittersweet chocolate.

To give the top of our pie its trademark crunch, we went with cornstarch instead of the flour that we’d been using as a thickener. Removing some egg white from the recipe also helped. We settled on blind baking our pie crust to ensure that it didn’t come out of the oven underbaked. Sprinkling the chocolate over the still-warm crust provided a hit of intense chocolate in every bite.

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Serves 8

Use your favorite pie dough or our recipe (related).

Ingredients

  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped

Instructions

  1. 1. Cover pie shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate 40 minutes, then freeze 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line chilled pie shell with two 12-inch squares parchment paper, letting parchment hang over edges of dough. Top with pie weights and bake until surface of dough no longer looks wet, 20 to 25 minutes.

    2. Remove pie from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Carefully remove parchment and weights and sprinkle chocolate over bottom of hot crust. Let sit 5 minutes, then spread chocolate into even layer; set aside.

    3. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter is nutty brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Off heat, slowly stir in bourbon (mixture will bubble strongly) and let cool 5 minutes.

    4. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in large bowl until combined. Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Slowly whisk in warm butter mixture until incorporated. Stir in walnuts and pour filling into chocolate-lined crust. Bake until filling is puffed and center jiggles slightly when pie is gently shaken, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack 4 hours. Serve with Bourbon Whipped Cream. (Pie can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.)

Keys to Blue-Ribbon Thoroughbread Pie Crust

Our chill, freeze, and weight method of blind-baking prevents the crust from slumping. For chocolate in every bite, we spread softened chocolate over the entire bottom.

1. COOL IT Refrigerate the unbaked crust for 40 minutes, then freeze it for 20 more.

2. BAKE IT Line the chilled crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights, and bake.

3. LINE IT Sprinkle chopped chocolate on the warm crust, then spread it evenly.

Browning Butter

To brown butter, heat it slowly in a light-colored pan, as the butter can easily burn. It will foam and darken from pale yellow to deep gold. Take it off the heat when it looks like this.

JUST RIGHT
The butter should be this shade of brown.

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