Tag Archives: pie

Day 283: A Chocolate Chess Pie for JoAnn

15 Jan

About a week ago I mentioned that I was looking for new pies to make and had found a recipe for Chess Pie.  It’s a custard-like pie that has one unusual ingredient: cornmeal.  There are many stories about where this name might have come from that you can read here.

When I mentioned Chess Pie on my blog, I asked if anyone could vouch for it.  A man named David Lowe wrote back and endorsed the idea and then sent me a recipe for a Chocolate Chess Pie.  Here is that recipe:

Fancy Chocolate Chess Pie (from Ken Hadrich’s book “Pie”)

9″ partially pre-baked crust
1/2 cup butter
4oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp fine cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter & chocolate gently.
Combine dry ingredients. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, cream & vanilla. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Pour into cooled pie crust. Bake 55-65 minutes at 325F, turning in the middle to bake evenly. It’s done when it’s formed a thin, crisp top crust and barely jiggles when shaken. Cool at least 90 minutes.

Today I made this recipe and it is incredibly easy to make and this is what it looked like when it came from the oven.

It sort of looks like a Brownie Pie doesn’t it?  It has the same kind of texture on top – which sounds like a slight crunch when you touch it… and it smelled divine.  But I couldn’t leave it alone… I wanted to spruce it up a bit more.

So, I made whipped cream and piped it around the edge because I still wanted to show off the top of the pie.

Then I decided it needed one more touch…. shaved chocolate….

… there!  Now it was ready for delivery!

Yesterday afternoon my daughter Alexandra suggested a name for a pie. The lady that she suggested is the mother of one of my daughter’s best friends and her name is JoAnn.  We’ve known each other for about ten years and while I haven’t seen her in a while, I always think of her fondly.   Each time I see her I am impressed by her gracefulness and her sense of humor.

Tonight Alex and I called upon JoAnn and presented her with this Chocolate Chess Pie.  She thanked me for the pie and invited us in for a visit.  We spent an hour or two catching up and before we knew it, it was time to leave.  Then we gave hugs all around and we were on our way. And it occurs to me now that I did not share these thoughts with JoAnn – and I should do that now.

I want to recognize JoAnn for being a remarkable mother to two fine sons and for being a friend and confidante to Alexandra.  I would also like to thank JoAnn (and Facebook) for helping our kids stay connected, even though they live 3,000 miles apart.   Our lives our fuller (and funnier) because of their friendship.

Day 20: Jonathon

27 Apr

It’s funny that I have known Jon longer than I have known my husband… and we met at the same place, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  It was my first time living away from home and I was a little shy.  Jon was friendly and funny and helped me feel welcome.  We were both part of a “block” of seventy six students.  It was a great group of people and we spent a lot of time together even when we weren’t in school.

After our first year of classes, I left school due to lack of funds.  After a few years I did return to finish my degree but  I didn’t think I’d ever see my former classmates again.  In the next few years, I met and married my husband and in 1986 we moved to Ashland to attend Southern Oregon State College.  One night, while I was working at a restaurant, I brought two men to their table.  One of them looked at me and said, “I think you were in my class.”  Oh boy, I thought. Was this a line?  I said, “You may be right” thinking that perhaps we were in the same computer lab.  And then I really looked at them… and there was Jon… with Tom, another classmate from the CIA.  How could that be?  We were three thousand miles from NY and it had been 7 years since I’d seen either of them!

We still live in the same town and even though I don’t see Jon often, we have remained close.  Though he is always busy, he is the kind of person who really listens when you tell them something.  He is also an amazing Dad to three boys.  And I know that he would argue if he heard me tell you this, but Jon is one of the most generous people I have ever met.

Today a Dutch Apple Pie was delivered to Jon’s house.  I wanted him to know that I am proud to call him my friend.

Day 18: Miss Carolyn

25 Apr

There are people we know who are part of the fabric of our lives.  Carolyn is one of those people for me.  She has a daughter who is the same age as my daughter.  Over the years we spent many hours together working on school related projects whether they were fundraisers, yearbooks or celebrations of one kind or another.

If you had a child in Mt. Ashland‘s MARA program a few year ago, you know Carolyn.  She spent many a weekend in the ski lodge at Mt. Ashland helping with the various races that were held and she didn’t even ski!   She was there for your kids and mine as they tested their skills on the challenging race courses of Mt. Ashland.  She gave up much of her free time to help with this sport.  Sure, she was there to support her kids, but at the same time she was there supporting countless other kids as well.

This morning I brought Carolyn a quiche as a small token of our appreciation of her service to all of us.  Carolyn, thank you for your gentle nature and your giving spirit.  The world needs more people like you.

And to everyone, Happy Easter.

Day 17: Claudia

24 Apr

Saturday is a good day for yard sales here in this little town and today I found a sale on Craigslist with the Y.E.S. logo.  That can only mean that Claudia is at it again.  Claudia is the proprietor of Y.E.S. which stands for Yard and Estate Sales.  She has been helping people sell their belongings for a long time and is the quintessential professional.  Her task is a fine line to walk and she does it with respect and grace.

An “estate sale” usually means that the person who once owned the items is no longer living.  For me, it is necessary to be respectful when walking through the home of a person who has passed on.  I feel as if the person’s space is being invaded and you may be forgiven for being there if you maintain a certain decorum.   Heaven forbid if you are rude or make fun.  Let’s not forget that one day someone may be perusing your “stuff.”

Estate sales are fun in an anthropological way in that they can tell us a lot about the person.  Did they like to cook?  or read?  Were they a film buff or maybe a gardener.   We leave all of our belongings behind when we die and they tell a story about us.   Look around at the items on your shelves… what do they say about you?  Perhaps if you are lucky, someone as nice as Claudia will handle your belongings with the love and care that you would give them.

For Claudia, and her lovely helpers, I brought a warm Marionberry Pie.  Thank you for your kindness.

Day 12: Roxanne – a force of nature.

17 Apr

Today, the recipient of my pie is my friend and neighbor Roxanne.  We were co-presidents of the PTA  at Helman School a number of years ago.  She was the “voice” of the PTA – running the meetings, etc.  I was very happy for that – and willingly did what ever else needed to be done.   I would never have taken on the  role of president alone, and was very grateful to have someone who was”fearless” to work with.

You may have met Roxanne around town.  She is a true force of nature!   She teaches classes like kick boxing – with the energy and encouragement necessary to keep you going.   She can make you laugh – but also makes time to listen if you need to talk.  She is real in the best sense of the word and we are lucky to have her in our community.   Won’t she be surprised when she comes home tonight to be greeted by a warm apple pie?

This “pie a day giveaway” project began as a way to bring a bit of happiness into someone’s life.   So far, I think it is going well.   Everyone has been genuinely pleased to receive a pie.  In fact, most folks have been quite surprised.  How fun is that?   Amazing that I can have such impact with such a small effort.  What that tells me is that we don’t “go out-of-the-way” for each other as often as we might.   I hope that someone out there is inspired to follow my example and make something for someone who has made a difference in their lives.

On a completely different note, check out commedienne Jeanne Robertson.  In this video she talks about her husband, LB (left-brain).  It’s a hoot.

Thanks for visiting.

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