Pi day is probably my favorite made-up holiday. A nationally celebrated day telling me to eat pie? I am in. This year I will be celebrating with a slice of Crack Pie from Momofuku Milk Bar, because if all has gone as planned, the robots in my computer have posted this and I am eating my way through day two of my NYC vacation, trying my best to convince my body it did not wake up at 4 am.
The mini chocolate pies above are not crack, per se, but are still addictive. The recipe is one that I found in an issue of Food and Wine based on the chocolate pie featured in the movie The Help (obviously minus one infamous secret ingredient). Turns out it is is the most intense, delicious chocolate pie I have ever tasted. Eggs, evaporated milk, a huge quantity of sugar and a seemingly insufficient amount of cocoa powder bake down into a concentrated chocolate layer that I find difficult to stop eating.
Turning these into mini pies, while more labor intensive, definitely ups the cute factor. This time, I topped them with some cinnamon-flecked whipped cream and oh man. I meant to bring these into the office as a pre-Pi Day treat, but they were gone way before I could even think about sharing.
Mini Chocolate Pies with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
The recipe for the pie filling is from Food & Wine. The original recipe calls for pre-made pie dough, but I made my own. I halved the amount of filling from the original recipe and this yielded two dozen mini pies.
For the pie dough:
This pie dough recipe is a 3-2-1 ratio of flour to butter to water, by weight, which is why the amounts are in ounces rather than standard cup measurements. I used a kitchen scale to measure and so I have no idea of the cup conversions. You can use any regular pie dough recipe or use store-bought dough instead if you don't have a scale.
6 oz flour
4 oz cold butter (1 stick), cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1-2 oz ice water
For the filling:
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
3/8 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Make the dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers, mix the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form, about the size of large peas. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix in the ice water (starting with 1 oz and adding more if needed) just until mixture comes together. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until ready to use. Alternately, you can make the dough in a food processor: pulse the flour and salt together, then pulse in the cubed butter until the size of peas. While machine is running, pour in the ice water until mixture just comes together.
Make the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out pie dough and cut into rounds using a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter (a fluted one will give your pie shells that crimped look. So cute!) . Press each round into the well of a mini muffin pan and prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, or until the crust is dry but not browned.
- Meanwhile, in a large measuring cup, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, egg, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the pie shells and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the filling is set but still a little jiggly in the centers. Transfer the pies to a rack and let cool completely. Serve with whipped cream. Pies can be stored in the refrigerator.