Southern Chocolate Brownie Pie for Alice and “The Help”

When I read Kathryn Stockett’s book, “The Help”, last year, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it. I must admit. It sort of hit close to home since I was raised in Alabama predominantly by my maid, Alice. Alice rode the bus to our house five days a week, and she took care of me from the day I was born until I was a teenager. I was the baby of the family with three other siblings. My parents traveled often, and since I was the youngest, I usually spent the majority of my time with her. Looking back, it’s really amazing that Alice didn’t own a car or have a driver’s license, and yet, I happily stayed at home with her all of the time. Unlike the book, we didn’t have separate bathroom quarters. Instead, my parents treated her as a part of our family. She was so loving, and she had the sweetest heart. She made the best fried chicken, fried okra and of course, desserts. Last night, I took my daughter, Leigh, to see The Help, and I highly recommend it.  In honor of this movie and in memory of Alice, I thought I would share a recipe for this Southern Chocolate Brownie Pie. It’s so easy, crustless and it’s one of my favorites. Cheers to “The Help” and great women like Alice and those in this fabulous story.

National Pie Day: Chocolate Chess Pie

I’m celebrating National Pie Day with this fantastic Chocolate Chess Pie. If you haven’t heard, the 2011 hot food trend is pie, and pie is also the “new cupcake”. I tasted some great pies this weekend at Food Blog South’s first ever conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The pies were served during a conference break from the incredible Pie Lab located in Greensboro Alabama. This conference was beyond amazing. I am so honored to have been a Speaker (along with Virginia Willis) on the topic of Recipe Development. We had great feedback and a very large attendance in our session so thank you to everyone involved. The conference (which was sold out), was a huge success raising money for the Dessert Island Supply Company and another charity benefiting the gulf. It was one of the best blog conferences I have attended where I met some of the nicest, most sincere and talented writers, bloggers, photographers, stylists, marketing representatives and passionate people.

To celebrate the south, I am so proud to feature this southern pie recipe. I grew up eating chess pie, and many northern and western friends ask me, “What is chess pie?” According to James Beard’s American Cookery, chess pie was brought from England originally and was found in New England as well as Virginia. What sets chess pie apart from many other custard type pies is the addition of cornmeal. I love it flavored with chocolate for extra sweet touch. Enjoy with (or without) whipped cream or powdered sugar.

Pecan Pie-Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert with a Twist

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Pecan pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, and I thought I would feature two of my favorite tried and true recipes. The first is laced with the incredible combination of bourbon and semisweet chocolate. How can you go wrong? The second is a White Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe that I developed for a holiday menu for Oxmoor House books a few years ago. This is for those of you, like my husband, who are white chocolate lovers. Just remember, be sure to save room for dessert.

 

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie or 8 servings

Ingredients

1/2  (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 1/2  cups  chopped pecans

1  cup  (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

1  cup  dark corn syrup

1/2  cup  granulated sugar

1/2  cup  firmly packed brown sugar

1/4  cup  bourbon or water

4  large eggs

1/4  cup  butter or margarine, melted

2  teaspoons  cornmeal

2  teaspoons  vanilla extract

1/2  teaspoon  salt

Preparation

1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.

2. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust; set aside.

3. Combine corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk about one-fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.

5. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set; cool on wire rack.

 

White Chocolate Pecan Pie

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie or 8 servings

Ingredients

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

1/4  cup  butter or margarine, melted

1/2  cup  sugar

1/2  cup  light corn syrup

3/4  cup  chopped pecans, toasted

1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

1/4  teaspoon  salt

2  large eggs, lightly beaten

6  (1-ounce) premium white chocolate baking squares, chopped (I used “Bakers”)

1  cup  pecan halves

Preparation

1. Unfold piecrust, and press out fold lines; sprinkle with flour, spreading over surface. Place crust, floured side down, in a 9″ pieplate; fold edges under, and flute. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes.

2. Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Let cool slightly. Add chopped pecans and next 3 ingredients; stir well. Pour filling into prebaked piecrust; sprinkle with two-thirds of chopped white chocolate. Top with pecan halves.

3. Bake at 325° for 50 to 55 minutes or until set. Cover with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. Place remaining chopped white chocolate in a small heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag; seal bag. Submerge bag in hot water until chocolate melts. Remove bag from water. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of bag, using scissors; drizzle chocolate over pie.