The chocolate pie that saved the day

The happy frenzy of the holiday cooking season is coming. It would seem that Thanksgiving is all about the traditional turkey, but in our house I know better. Everything I make is just a lead-in to arguably the best part of our holiday meal - pie!

Every year I make multiple pies for just four people, because choosing one pie is far too difficult. It's a delicious dilemma because there are so many wonderful possibilities.

Last year, our usual holiday plans were suddenly upended. A pre-Thanksgiving windstorm knocked over a tree near our house, which caused the electricity to go out for the day. I had just begun the marathon of holiday cooking when it happened. Thankfully, I had started making dessert first. I had just begun baking a chocolate pie when the oven turned off. Nervously, I crossed my fingers and hoped the remaining heat would be enough for it to bake. I resisted the temptation to open the oven door until it had finally cooled. Bravely I took a look. The pie had cooked perfectly!

As the hours passed, we rushed to get the turkey and groceries outside into ice chests, but Thanksgiving in my mind was saved. We were together. We had much to be grateful for and there would still be homemade pie.

Sometimes a slice of pie and a good laugh are all you really need to celebrate. So, here it is - the chocolate pie that saved the day.

Chocolate Fudge Pie


• 1 unbaked 9-inch pie dough crust

• 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

• 6 tablespoons flour

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 1/2 cups sugar

• 3 eggs

• 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 3/4 cup butter, melted

• 2 ounces good quality milk or dark chocolate (I like Scharffenberger or Ghirardelli)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

First, line a 9-inch pie pan with the prepared pie crust and crimp the edges.

Next, prepare the chocolate filling. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon and sugar. Then whisk in eggs and vanilla and melted butter.

Pour the chocolate filling into the pie crust. Use a separated or rubber spatula to even out the filling. The filling will not come all the way up to the top of the pie plate, because it will rise as it bakes.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the pie will have a brownie-like top with a creamy fudge center.

After the pie has cooled, you can add a festive crisscrossed chocolate design on top. Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds stir and then heat it for an additional 20 to 30 seconds until it is just melted through. Put the melted chocolate in a disposable pastry bag and cut off the tip to make a small hole. Make a zigzag pattern going one direction, then turn pie at an angle and make another set of zigzag marks going the opposite direction.

This pie tastes especially delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

- Amy McCauley of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist.

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