One thing that I've believed my whole life was that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I come from a family who loves their sweets, with my grandma constantly baking to satisfy my grandpa's sweet tooth. I mostly remember her baking layer cakes slathered in sugary frosting, which he would then eat with thick slices of cold butter and a mound of whipped cream.
My mom's homemade cookies were almost constantly in supply, and she could never pick just one favorite pie to bake at the holidays, so there was always pumpkin, apple, chocolate and pecan to choose from. When she would bake a cake, my dad would follow her around the house asking when it was going to be ready to taste. After many, many years of this, he discovered boxed cake mixes and canned frosting, and realized that if he could learn to follow the instructions on the box, he could have a cake any time he wanted. My parents' pantry was stocked with an assortment of cake and frosting after that.
I don't think I won Jamie's heart with my cooking, though, since I wasn't much of a cook yet when we started dating, but I quickly realized that he has quite an appreciation for good food, and he loves something sweet after dinner on Friday nights.
I had been planning a little bit of a celebration dinner this last Friday night, a day that marked the end of a difficult time for me and the beginning of a new opportunity. As I shopped for the perfect piece of tenderloin for steak tartare and ground beef for meatloaf, baguettes, cheese, red wine, baby carrots and red potatoes, I thought of the dessert I had planned to make that night, vanilla pots de creme. Simple but rich vanilla bean custard, maybe with caramel at the bottom of his and raspberry for mine.
During the last six months, this period of time that's been such a struggle for me, he's listened patiently as I recounted each day's events, held me when I cried, advised me on what to do, offered me his support and love, and always been one-hundred-percent, unconditionally on my side throughout it all. My joy in finding a new opportunity, one that I hope will make me much happier, is his joy, too.
And so, I decided against the pots de creme, which he would have liked, and which I may still make next weekend, but there was something better I had in mind for our dessert that night, something more for him than for me. A pie that I hadn't made in probably seven years, and even then just a few times around the holidays - chocolate chip pie.
Calling this just "chocolate chip pie" is an overly simplistic description of how fantastic this pie is. It has the most decadent gooey filling full of butter, eggs, dark brown sugar, toasted pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips. A good pinch of Kosher salt and a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. The filling, while staying gooey underneath bakes into a crackly golden brown crust on top. All in a buttery, flaky pie crust. With ice cream, of course.
The thought of this pie is taunting me as I write this, since I'm only allowing myself one small serving of dessert per week now, and since I can't have another taste of it, it's all I can think about as it sits so temptingly on the counter.
But it was for Jamie after all, and not for me. My way of saying, thank you for loving me for who I am. Thank you for being exactly who you are.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Pie
- 1 unbaked pie shell (see my recipe for all-butter perfect pie crust)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft (not melted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 325. Roll out the pie dough and fit it into a deep dish pie pan or a tart pan with removeable sides. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until foamy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Switch the mixer to the paddle attachment and beat in the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread the filling into the pie shell. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crackly and the filling is mostly set (no longer jiggly) but it should still be gooey if you stick a knife in (during the last 20 minutes of baking, cover pie loosely with a piece of foil if it begins to brown too much). Cool for several hours on a wire rack until the filling is completely set, then serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.
Yields 10-12 servings.
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen