3.14 Day

Now that the Heels have pulled it out for the day, I can turn my attention to an important event not related to basketball. Yes, there actually are a few such things. One is Pie Day, which will be Monday. Look at the date, people.

It’s a bad pun, but who cares when it’s an excuse for pie. Some pears are awaiting on my counter, a possible combination with cognac and a spice like cardamom in the future. But for pie today, I turned to “Southern Pies” by Nancie McDermott of Chapel Hill, N.C. because the stress of pulling for the team during ACC Tournament weekend requires chocolate. Nancie’s recipe for Betty Thomason’s Chocolate Chess Pie is simple and smells rich as it bakes. I’m trying to keep my fingers from it until The Hub gets home, but that admirable goal is becoming more and more difficult to achieve.

Betty Thomason’s Chocolate Chess Pie from “Southern Pies” by Nancie McDermott

Pastry for a 9-inch single-crust pie

1/2 cup butter (I used nondairy margarine, for The Hub)

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten well

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust and crimp the edges. Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the chocolate and butter melt and you can stir them together into a smooth sauce, 5 to 7 minutes Remove from heat, add sugar and stir well. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine everything evenly and well. Pour the filling into the piecrust and place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake until the pie is puffed up, fairly firm and handsomely browned, 35 to 45 minutes. place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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