My family’s Thanksgiving philosophy is that you can never have too many pies. We often have 3 or 4 types of pie, which is a lot when you realize that we only have about 12 people. Last Thanksgiving, I decided to make a recipe for a spice pie I found in one of my cookbooks. The flavor was good, but the pie was too sweet and didn’t set. That was pie 1. Undaunted and not a little crazy, I remade the recipe with the rest of the pie dough I had stuck in the freezer. I upped the eggs which helped the set and replaced the milk with buttermilk. The result was a dream – a layered pie with a crust on top of an almost translucent custard, all deeply flavored with spices. I thought it was a hit. That was pie 2. (my family preferred the chocolate pie I made, which we will call pie number 3.)
Fast forward to this year, when I decided to share pie 2 with you, my lovely and deserving readers. I checked my favorite dessert cookbook, and made the buttermilk pie contained therein. It was pale, tangy with a hint of lemon. Good, but not the pie I remembered. That was pie number 4.
I looked in my journal, where I had helpfully noted not only the pie recipe I used, But also the modifications I made (like adding buttermilk.). “AHa!” I thought. And made that one. What I got was a firm, custard like pie, not unlike a good pumpkin pie. It was good, but I wanted that layered effect. This was not what I remembered. That was pie number five.
Undaunted, and still crazy, I scouted my cookbook collection and the Internet, trying to find out how to recreate that layered, gooey pie filling of my dreams. Finally, I went back to that chocolate pie recipe (pie number 3), tinkered with the proportions, changed the flavoring (though I kept in a spoonful of cocoa out of deference to the Nuni, who insisted on a chocolate spice pie) and placed it in the oven with baited breath. That was pie number six.
And that is the pie I am sharing with you today. With a crisp, almost shattery crust covering a gooey filling, the richness of spices, the tang of buttermilk and the merest hint of chocolate (the Nuni, it turns out, has good instincts) this is a pie worthy of sharing. A pie worthy of your Thanksgiving table. Even if you don’t have 1/2 a pie (or six) per person.
- 1 pie crust (lazy person tips on a fluted pie crust: make it in a fluted tart pan)
- 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the pie crust with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes, or until just starting to color.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the butter, flour, cocoa, spices, and buttermilk and stir until combined.
- Pour into the prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. The pie should still have a but of wobble, but will set as it cools.