baking, best basics, easy pies, easy recipes, kids favorite, picnic foods
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Brownie Pie

This pie is quick to put together (I only use a whisk) and is just as good at a picnic as it is after a fancy dinner. Serve it on a puddle of créme anglaise (which is French for melted Häagen-Dazs Vanilla ice-cream) and fresh strawberries.

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6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts (I roast them for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F before I chop them for better flavor)

Grease and flour a 9-inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature – serves 8.

Créme Anglaise (makes 2 cups)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 3/4 cups scalded milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons Cognac
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, optional

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs. Pour the custard mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. The custard will coat the spoon like heavy cream. Don’t cook it above 180 degrees or the eggs will scramble!

Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, add the vanilla extract, Cognac, and vanilla seeds, if using. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a plastic container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

adapted from a recipe from Barefoot in Paris book by Ina Garten

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