I know that Pi Day was Saturday and I totally missed the boat, but this was moving weekend. There was a large truck and many heavy boxes and so many cows through all of Ohio, and the pictures of this pie were sitting on my camera in Boston. But please do not let its tardiness prevent you from trying it—replace the bourbon with Irish whiskey and it’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.
I want you to know that I come by my nerdiness honestly: in recent conversations, both my parents and my little sister have excitedly brought up the fact that this year’s Pi Day deserves extra celebration because the date has two bonus digits of pi. That’s right, folks, 3/14/15 delves an extra two decimal places into the unending depths of everybody’s favorite mathematical constant, 3.14159…
I especially love that the majority of my immediate family not only noticed this but also felt the need to share it. Sort of explains a lot, doesn’t it?
This extra-special Pi Day merits an extra-special pie, so we’re going all out with homemade chocolate pudding, marshmallow meringue, and some broiler action to get it nice and toasty. Did I mention that the pudding also has a generous pour of bourbon? Do it for the bonus digits.
I have to admit that the pudding proved trickier than I thought, although not for the reasons you might expect. The hardest parts turned out to be finding enough (clean) bowls and not nibbling on the chocolate while you cook the base. If you can manage that, you’ll do just fine on the rest of it.
PS—I’m working on taking pictures of things other than my blog creations, so follow me on Instagram (@janellepdx) for Boston adventures, friendly neighborhood cats, and, well, still a lot of food. This little blog also has a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/fchem101) if that’s more your style. See you there!
- 1 c. flour
- 12 t. salt
- 1½ t. sugar
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
- 3-4 T. ice water
- CHOCOLATE CREAM:
- 2 T. butter
- 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 6 T. bourbon
- 1 t. vanilla
- ¾ c. sugar
- ¼ c. cornstarch
- ¼ t. salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1 c. heavy cream, divided
- 3 egg whites
- ¾ c. sugar
- Make the pie crust: Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the biggest lumps are the size of peas. Add 3 tablespoons water and incorporate. If the dough is still very dry, gradually add up to one more tablespoon water so that it comes together. Form the dough into a disk about 6 inches across, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a circle about 12 inches across. Gently fold into quarters, transfer to your pie plate, and unfold, pinching any tears if necessary. Press the dough into the edge all the way around. Trim the overhang to ½” and tuck under.
- Line the pie crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust looks mostly set, then remove the foil and weights (be careful! They’re very hot) and return to the oven until lightly browned, 10-14 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Make the chocolate cream layer: Place the chocolate, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Separate the eggs, setting the whites aside for later and whisking the yolks in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a large pot and whisk until combined. Add the milk and heat over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges, whisking constantly. The cornstarch may form clumps, but vigorous whisking should take care of them.
- While whisking the yolks, pour half of the hot milk mixture over them. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the pot and return to medium heat. Cook until the pudding base thickens and 3-4 large bubbles break on the surface, continuing to whisk constantly.
- Pour the hot pudding base over the chocolate and whisk until fully incorporated. Let cool at room temperature.
- Whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. When the pudding has cooled for about 20 minutes, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Pour the pudding into the cooled pie crust, smooth the top, and place in the fridge to cool completely.
- Make the marshmallow meringue: Set up a double boiler by setting a bowl over a pot with about an inch of water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove the bowl and bring the water to a low simmer over medium high heat.
- Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl on the double boiler and adjust the heat so that the water stays at a low simmer, whisking the egg whites constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens and becomes opaque, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler and continue to whisk vigorously until the meringue holds its shape. It won’t get to stiff peaks, but when you lift the whisk, the ribbon that falls should sit on top of the meringue in the bowl instead of sinking in.
- Dollop the marshmallow meringue on top of the cooled chocolate cream layer and spread into an even layer. Toast with a torch (10 seconds) or under the broiler (about 8 minutes) until the crust browns. Chill at least an hour before serving.