Silky-smooth, deep, dark chocolate-does it get any better? Nope. That was the key to Sophie’s Chocolate and Chestnut Pie being named best homemade pie in Princeton last week during Geek Freak Weekend celebrating Pi Day.
I had the honor and pleasure of helping to judge the home baker section of the recipe contest with Fran McMannus of Whole Earth Center in Princeton and Diane Landis, sustainability coordinator for Princeton. Professional chefs had their own category.
Pi Day, March 14, celebrates math and science and Albert Einstein’s birthday. Festivities took place around downtown Princeton throughout the weekend.
The pie recipes in the contest were submitted by Princeton area home chefs and baked by 10 local chefs. The winning recipe was submitted by Dr. Sophie Meunier, a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
It was a tough decision for the judges, with 10 excellent pies to choose from. Flavors ranged from a pastiera, an apple-fennel crostata and peach-pecan.
The winning chocolate chestnut stood above the rest for it’s strong dark chocolate flavor that lingered on the palate. The ganache filling was extremely thick and rich and sliced beautifully and remained firm after sliced. It sat in a chocolate crust with tons of chocolate shavings on top.
The winning pie was baked by a chef at Eno Terra in Kingston.
In the professional category, Princeton newbies D’Angelo’s Italian Market, took top honors with their white chocolate raspberry pie.
Here’s the winning home-baked recipe:
Sophie’s Chocolate and Chestnut Pie
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp cold butter
2 egg yolks
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
12 oz dark chocolate
1 c heavy cream
1 pinch salt
1 8 oz can chestnut cream
Chocolate curls for decoration
Make the dough: in food processor, combine flour, sifted cocoa, sugar and salt; pulse to combine. Add the cold butter cut in chunks and pulse a few times. Add the egg yolks and pulse. Add the water and process until mixture forms a ball. Roll right away or keep in plastic wrap in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll the dough (easier with Silpat underneath and plastic wrap on top) Spray pie pan or tart pan with canola oil. Transfer dough to the pan and prick with fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool before filling.
Make chocolate ganache: in microwave safe bowl, cut the chocolate in chunks and pour cream over. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, stir. Then heat in 15 second increments stirring each time in between until only a few chunks are left. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Add a pinch of salt and stir until the mixture is smooth and fluid.
Pour ganache into cooled crust. Let cool again until ganache sets.
The chestnut cream goes on top of the ganache; spread with spoon or pipe on top, then decorate with chocolate curls.
Victoria Hurley-Schubert, Regional Editor Ocean County, is a true Jersey girl. Raised in Marlboro, Vikki has lived in the area her whole life. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and is happiest when feeding a houseful of friends and family. A journalist for 10 years, she now serves on the staff of the Princeton Packet. Vikki is happiest on the road, so it should be no Surprise she is a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations. Follow her on Twitter @vikkihs.