Before I decided that I didn’t like to bake, I baked a lot. Weird. I know. But true. Since I did not come from a strong line of bakers or sweets makers, it was a surefire way of finding my place in the whole family cooking hierarchy. And as a teen, I loved the attention and praise I received whenever I showed up at a family function with dessert in hand. One early success that garnered many oohs and ahhs was my Fudge Pie.
Looking back, I think the Fudge Pie was a big hit for two reasons. For starters, the first time I made it was for Christmas dinner and it was a welcomed departure from the traditional holiday treats laden with pecans and pumpkins (and it filled the void for those who didn’t like pecans and pumpkins–there were many). And second, the Fudge Pie was surprisingly decadent. I say surprisingly because this pie doesn’t look like much. It’s dark and dingy and rather boring. But trust me. What it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in flavor and texture (think fudgy brownie-like).
Back in the day, I also made my own pie crusts (okay, I still do this occasionally). If you have a favorite, go-to pastry dough recipe, don’t feel obligated to use mine. And if you’re like me and have realized that you really don’t like to bake but feel obligated to turn out something sweet, by all means use one of those store-bought, refrigerated pie crusts.
Fudge Pie Recipe
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell, recipe follows
1 stick unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prick pie dough all over with a fork and line with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake until light golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove foil and transfer shell to a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and let cool. Place eggs, sugar, flour, salt, coffee liqueur and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until smooth. Remove bowl from mixer, add melted chocolate mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared pie shell and bake until center is just set, about 30-35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature. Make 8-10 servings.
Basic Pie Crust Recipe
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or the back of a fork, cut in shortening until crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until combined. Add extra tablespoon of ice water if needed to hold dough together. Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 1/8-inch-thick round. Fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Fold extra dough under and crimp or decorate edges as desired. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day. Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.