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Caramel-Bottomed Guinness Chocolate Pie | by djwtwo
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Caramel-Bottomed Guinness Chocolate Pie

I made one of these in my big batch o’ pies for Pi Day this year, and had fully intended to post a recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of this particular pie, since I was concentrating on a few other pies I was baking for the Serious Eats/Instructables Pi Day Pie contest.


So, I just had to bake another one.


I like the pairing of chocolate and stout, and I think the orange-spiked caramel layer really fills out the flavor of the pie. The pudding itself is based on a recipe from the folks at Cooks Illustrated, tweaked quite a bit, the pie crust is basically a 1:2:3 ratio pie dough but with extra liquid in the form of vodka (which helps make the dough workable, but keeps it from getting tough by providing alcohol to interfere with gluten production), and the caramel and whipped cream are pretty stock recipes (I use variants of both all the time).


Photography-wise, I shot this picture outside, taking advantage of a nice sunny day (with the sunlight filtered through a homemade diffusion panel). I tried a few different setups when composing the picture, including a few with the rest of the pie in the background, but I liked this relatively close, square crop best, since it did the best job of showing the caramel layer on the bottom, just starting to ooze out.





For the crust


6 oz. all-purpose flour

4 oz. (1 stuck) unsalted butter, cold

1 tbl. sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 oz. cold water

1 1/2 oz. vodka


For the caramel


1 c. sugar

1/3 c. water

1 tbl. corn syrup

1 c. heavy cream

1 oz. Grand Marnier

zest of 1 orange


For the filling


4.5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used a bar of Hershey’s Special Dark here)

2 tbl. dutch process cocoa powder

2 tbl. corn starch

2/3 c. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 c. heavy cream

3 large egg yolks

1 14.5 oz. can Guinness stout

1/4 c. water

1 packet gelatin

1 tbl. unsalted butter


For the whipped cream topping


1 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. gelatin

2 tbl. water





Start by making the crust. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Cut the butter (which should be right out of the refrigerator, still cold and solid) into 1/4” slices. Combine the cold water and vodka in a measuring cup.


Add half of the butter to the flour, tossing to coat. Process in 10-12 1 second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the remaining butter, and pulse 4-5 times, leaving some pieces of butter the size of peas or small beans. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and sprinkle on the water/vodka mixture about 1 tbl. at a time, mixing gently after each addition with a wooden spoon. After adding all of the liquid, the dough should hold its shape well when squeezed in your palm. Shape into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flour to hydrate fully.


Preheat your oven to 400°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, roll out, and line a 9” pie plate with it. Trim the excess about 1/2” larger than the pie plate and form the edge of the crust. Dock the crust a few dozen times on the bottom and sides with a fork. Line with a square of foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until the bottom looks mostly dry, then remove the pie weights and lining and bake another 10 minutes until fully baked and golden. Let cool.


To make the caramel, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan and cover. Bring to a boil, then remove the cover. Continue to cook over high heat, leaving the pan undisturbed, until the sugar begins to caramelize. Swirl the pan gently, and continue cooking until it takes on a nice, reddish-brown color, but be very careful to not let it burn. Immediately add the heavy cream and liqueur (it will splatter and hiss, so be very careful to not burn yourself) and whisk until dissolved. Return to medium-high heat, and cook to just past the thread stage (235°F on a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat, add the orange zest, and immediately pour into the precooked pie crust and allow it to cool.


For the filling, start by melting the chocolate and allowing it to cool slightly. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, salt, and corn starch. Whisk in the cream, then the egg yolks, then the Guinness, and finally the chocolate. In a second, smaller saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom. Cook the Guinness and chocolate mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to heavily coat the back of a wooden spoon. When it starts to get close, heat the gelatin until it dissolves, and whisk in the gelatin at the very end of cooking. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, then whisk in the butter. Immediately pour into the pie shell, cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator until completely set, at least a few hours, or overnight. (I occasionally will make this as a pudding instead of a pie filling, in which case I omit the gelatin and water for a softer consistency, since pudding doesn’t need to be slicable like a pie.)


The topping is a stabilized whipped cream that will hold its shape for quite some time. Bloom the gelatin in the water, and heat until dissolved. Combine the heavy cream, which should be cold, with the sugar, and beat until the peaks begin to hold their shape. Continue, beating, pouring in the gelatin in a thin stream, and beat just until the gelatin is combined. Spread or pipe onto the pie. Because the whipped cream is stabilized with the gelatin, it will hold well in the refrigerator overnight without issues.


This will serve 8-10 people.


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Taken on March 20, 2011