This was mine and Gerrit’s exact conversation regarding this dessert:
Me: We’re having brownie pie for dessert tonight when your parents come over.
Gerrit: Oh, yum! It sounds kind of like the cappuccino chocolate chip pie my mom makes.
Me: Maybe? I don’t really remember. I mean, there’s no cappuccino in it.
Gerrit: It’s basically like a brownie, in a pie crust.
Me: Then yes. It’s like a brownie in a pie dish. No pie crust though.
Gerrit: What? Then how is it a pie?
Me: Because it’s in a pie dish.
Gerrit: But there’s no pie crust.
We went back and forth about that for a few minutes, but I still stand by my theory that not all pies must have crusts. I can’t really think of another example right now, but the fact that you bake this in a pie dish and then serve it in pie shaped slices seems like a perfectly good reason to call it a pie to me.
A few weeks ago, I wrote over here about my venture to make fair trade chocolate more a part of my life. And a couple of weeks ago, a five pound bag of fair trade cocoa powder that I had ordered landed on my doorstep. I had to go out and buy a special container for it, and it is so much cocoa powder I think perhaps it might last me several years (note: does cocoa powder even stay good that long? apparently yes.) And aside from the fact that this cocoa powder is fair trade and organic and makes me feel better about the products we putting in our pantry (both environment wise and human rights wise), this cocoa powder also actually tastes better. It smells rich and just has the purest chocolate flavor.
And my new cocoa powder was perfectly showcased in this brownie pie, a dessert that is a perfect chocolate fix but not so rich that you don’t feel you can go back for a second piece. It’s a recipe that we’ve had for ages, from an old church cookbook. And we discovered how much more magical it could be one night years ago when my mom realized she didn’t have enough regular sugar and ended up substituting brown sugar. It made the dessert richer and a bit gooey-er, which is always a good way to describe food when it involves chocolate.
adapted from an old church cookbook
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a pie dish, and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir together. Stir in butter, eggs and vanilla.
3. Spread the batter evenly in the pie dish, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into pie slices and serve warm.