Almond Crusted Chocolate Pie...

It's raining, my house is clean, kids are napping, laundry is folded, bread is baking in the oven.  I love days like this.  The only thing missing is chocolate!!!  Sooo... I made this lovely little chocolate pie to fill the void and make the perfect Saturday.

This pie recipe came from a farm magazine that I love: Hobby Farm.  The magazine has great information for small farmer's like me.  Over the course of it's publication, I have learned a lot about farm animals, composting, crops, and it has some delicious recipes.  You can find it at larger farm stores and large booksellers should have it in the periodical section.

This is fairly simple to make.  The filling isn't baked, but the eggs have to be tempered.  Go slowly and stir like mad when tempering to avoid scrambled eggs in your filling.  Don't rush the process, add a little milk at a time.  The crust is what I think makes the pie.  I love the almonds.  I am a nut lover (and yes, I am also a nut...), so the texture of the almonds and the nuttiness it adds is fantastic.

I did a tiny bit of modifying by reducing the amount of sugar in the pie, changing the milk to half and half (heck, if you're gonna eat pie, you ought to really eat pie... right?), and adding some chocolate curls to the top of the pie.  When it comes to chocolate,  it's go big or go home in my book!  Even with the modifications, it is extremely rich.  I can only eat a tiny sliver of pie - it has portion control built right in!!!

This would be a lovely addition to your Pioneer Day baking!

Adapted from Hobby Farm Magazine

3/4 cup almonds
9 squares (or 4 1/2 full crackers) graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 350ºF.  In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, grind the almonds and graham crackers until fine.  Add sugar and salt, pulse to combine.  With the processor on, add butter in a steady stream until well combined and mixture begins to hold together (about 30 seconds).

Pour mixture into a standard sized pie pan.  Press bottom and sides so that the pan has an even layer of crust.  Bake in 350ºF oven for 6-9 minutes, until barely browned on top edge.  Remove and let cool.

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup dutch processed unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups half and half (or milk)
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten (reserve whites for meringue)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt.  Stir with a whisk to combine.  Place the dry ingredient mixture in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan, add the half and half, stir to combine, and turn the heat to medium.  Stir until the mixture begins to reach a bubbly boil and starts to thicken.  Remove from heat.  

Place the slightly beaten eggs in a medium bowl.  While whisking the eggs, add some of the milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir vigorously after each addition.  Continue adding milk to the eggs until the eggs come up to temperature (I usually add about half of the milk mixture).  Then, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk.  Bring to a boil, boil for about 2 minutes until the mixture is thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and almond extracts.  Pour into crust.  Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.  Chill in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

**you could use meringue instead of whipped cream for the topping if that is more your style**
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp agave or powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Large bar of dark chocolate
Slivered Almonds

After the pie has cooled completely, whip the cream, add agave or powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  Top the pie with cream.  To make chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler and "peel" the long side of the chocolate bar.  The chocolate should curl as it comes off.  You can also top with almond slices if desired.  


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