Brownie Pie

I try very hard not to buy new cookbooks.  I already own hundreds of cookbooks and they are stored all over the house.  When I’m interested in a cookbook that has just been published I make a request at my local library, then I give myself a week or two with the new book to decide if it’s something I really need.   I am currently in the queue for “The Smitten Kitchen” cookbook, behind about twenty-five other people.  But in the meantime I have spent the last week reading through Christina Tosi’s “Momofuku Milk Bar”.   Ms. Tosi is the pastry chef for David Chang, the New York chef/founder of the Momofuku restaurant group.  The brownie pie is the beginning of what will be a baking marathon from this wonderful book.  It will make a lovely Valentine dessert.  As it is a large pie, you can share with family and friends.  The flavor is pure chocolate, and the texture is a combination of molten chocolate cake and fudgy brownie.  Garnish it simply with a little dusting of powdered sugar, or go all out with a scoop of ice cream or a drift of softly whipped cream.  Either way, this is a very special chocolate dessert.  And I think I may need this book.

Brownie Pie
(makes one 10 inch pie; serves 8 to 10)
3/4 recipe Graham Crust (255 grams or 1 1/2 cups)  *see below
125 grams 72% chocolate (4 1/2 ounces)
85 grams butter (6 tablespoons)
2 eggs
150 grams sugar (3/4 cup)
40 grams flour (1/4 cup)
25 grams cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona (3 tablespoons)
2 grams kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
110 grams heavy cream (1/2 cup)

Heat the oven to 350F.  Put 210 grams (1 1/4 cups) graham crust into a 10 inch pie plate and set the remaining 45 grams (1/4 cup) aside.  With your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the crust firmly into the pie plate, covering the bottom and sides of the pan completely.  Wrapped in plastic, the crust can be refrigerated or frozen for up to 2 weeks.  Combine the chocolate and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt them together on low for 30 to 50 seconds.  Use a heatproof spatula to stir them together, working until the mixture is glossy and smooth.  Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip together on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow and has reached the ribbon stage (the mixture should form a thickened, silky ribbon that falls and then disappears into the batter when you raise the whisk).  Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs and briefly mix together on low, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 minute, or until it is brown and completely homogenous.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and mix on low speed for 45 to 60 seconds.  There should be no clumps of dry ingredients.  Stream in the heavy cream on low speed, mixing for 30 to 45 seconds, just until the batter has loosened up a little and the white streaks of cream are fully mixed in.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in 45 grams (1/4 cup) graham crust with a spatula.  (These crumbs will add little bursts of flavor and texture into the pie filling).  Place the pie plate containing the graham crust on a sheet pan.  Scrape the brownie batter into the graham shell.  Smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Bake for 25 minutes.  The pie should puff slightly on the sides and develop a sugary crust on top.  If the brownie pie is still liquid in the center and has not formed a crust, bake it for an additional 5 minutes or so.  Cool the pie on a rack.  Wrapped in plastic, the pie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*Graham Crust
(makes about 2 cups)
190 grams graham cracker crumbs (1 1/2 cups)
20 grams milk powder (1/4 cup)
25 grams sugar (2 tablespoons)
3 grams kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon)
55 grams butter, melted (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick)
55 grams heavy cream (1/4 cup)
Toss the crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl to evenly combine.  Whisk the butter and cream together.  Add slowly to the dry ingredients, tossing again to combine (you may not need all of the butter/cream mixture).  The mixture should hold it’s shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand.  If it is not moist enough to do so, and you have used all the butter/cream mixture, add additional melted butter and mix it in.  The crust can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
(from “Momofuku Milk Bar” by Christina Tosi)

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