“FOOD IS NOT ABOUT IMPRESSING PEOPLE. IT’S ABOUT MAKING THEM FEEL COMFORTABLE.” Ina Garten.
It’s always great when a fussy dessert turns out really well. But I am even happier when I am able to casually throw a few ingredients together and the result is just as satisfying. This month, Roxana, of Roxana’s Home Baking and the fabulous leader of The Chocolate Party challenged us to pair chocolate with strawberries! It’s such a winning combination in my book. Strawberries always remind me of spring and summer, and strawberry picking at my favorite farm. And so I wanted to make a rustic dessert, and one that tastes like home.
This simple chocolate pie has a layer of strawberry jam spread on top of a light, buttery crust. Toasted pecans add a little crunch to this creamy pie. Top it off with some sliced, fresh strawberries, some creamy toasted pine nuts and a pinch of sea salt and the result is truly comforting.
This chocolate pie is also just a little bit deceiving. As you look at the picture, you might expect that it is a fudgey brownie pie. But actually, the chocolate filling is made with chocolate, sugar and egg whites! So it is light and chewy like a meringue!
Yields: 10-12 servings
Level of Difficulty: easy
You may use a store bought crust. But it is really easy to make with this simple recipe.
EASY BUTTERY PIE CRUST:
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 7 Tablespoons of chilled butter
- 3 Tablespoons of ice water
Start by whisking the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and sprinkle them over the flour. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course crumbs and the largest pieces are the size of peas. Add the ice water and blend with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to hold together when pressed. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it just enough to hold it together. Pat the dough into a small oval shape and cover it with some plastic wrap and refrigerate for about a half an hour.
Place the rack in your oven to the lower third position in the oven and preheat it to 400°F.
When you are ready to make the pie, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it measures roughly a 9 x 14 inch oval. Carefully fold it in half. You may have to use your bench scraper or palette knife to gently loosen the dough from your surface. Place the dough on a baking pan lined with a piece of parchment paper. Loosely fold and roll the edges to form a rimmed crust.
Bake the crust for roughly 12 minutes, or until it is very lightly golden brown. Remove it from the oven and immediately spread 1/4 of a cup of strawberry jam on top. Cover the entire crust to the edges with the jam.
Again, you may use your favorite store bought jam. But jam is easy to make and this is my go to recipe for strawberry jam.
At this point you will want to reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
- 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup of pecans, chopped
- a handful of toasted pine nuts
- chocolate shavings for garnish if desired
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl of a pan of simmering water until it is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for a bit. Slip the whisk attachment onto your electric mixer. Whip the egg whites ,vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the granulated sugar and then the pinch of salt. Continue to whip until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold in the chocolate and pecans and spread this over the strawberry jam layer on your crust.
Continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the chocolate seems dry and slightly cracked at the edges.
NOTE: At the 10 minute point, you will not want to leave the oven. I actually made this twice. The first time, after 10 minutes I felt it could go for another minute or two. I didn’t check it after 1 minute. But after 2 minutes, the top was completely burnt! I slapped myself on the head and said…..of course it burnt quickly…..it’s meringue!
You will want to let this set a good 45 minutes to 1 hour after you’ve removed it from the oven. Top it with sliced, fresh strawberries and a handful of pine nuts. Garnish it with shavings of chocolate. Cut this into rough slices. And by all means, serve this up with some freshly whipped cream.
For more rustic desserts try my:
And please stop by to visit my chocolate loving friends, to see how they combined chocolate and strawberries this month!