PITTSBURGH PROUD

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Chris spent ten years in college and graduate school in Pittsburgh, and he still misses it sometimes (until he sees a winter weather report). One of the many great things about the Steel City is ordering something “Pittsburgh-style,” meaning it’s topped with french fries—be it a burger or your salad. This creamy Pittsburgh-style chocolate pie is crowned with salty, chocolate-covered potato sticks (our confectionery ode to the french fry) and adorned with flakes of edible gold. For an authentic treat, make this black-and-gold pie with Dark Brewed Porter from Pittsburgh-based Yuengling brewing company.

MAKES ONE 9½-INCH DEEP-DISH PIE

WHAT YOU NEED

Cocoa Pastry Crust (this page), preferably made with black cocoa, baked and cooled in a 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate 

Soft food-safe paintbrush (optional) 

INGREDIENTVOLUMEWEIGHT (STAN


DARD)WEIGHT (METRIC)


CHOCOLATE MALT CREAM

Porter beer (see headnote)¾ cup6.35 ounces180 grams


Light brown sugar, lightly packed1 cup7 ounces200 grams


Malted milk powder3 tablespoons0.75 ounce21 grams


Salt⅛ teaspoon

Eggs4 large

Unsweetened chocolate, melted4 ounces113 grams


Semisweet chocolate, melted4 ounces113 grams

Unsalted butter, cut into 4 chunks, at room temperature8 tablespoons4 ounces113 grams


Vanilla extract½ teaspoon


Heavy cream1 cup plus 2 tablespo

ons9.2 ounces261 grams


CHOCOLATE-COVERED “FRIES”

Potato sticks (we use Pik-Nik Original Shoestring Potatoes, but use what’s available)2 cups3 ounces84 grams


Semisweet chocolate, melted4 ounces113 grams


Edible gold leaf, for decoration (optional; see Sources, this page)

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE MALT CREAM: In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, microwave the porter on high (100%) power until the mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, 6 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, bring the beer to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to ¼ cup. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the reduced porter, the brown sugar, malted milk powder, salt, and eggs. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat the mixture until it reaches 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, whisking constantly. 

Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it has thickened and cooled and the outside of the bowl no longer feels warm, 6 to 8 minutes. 

On medium speed, beat in the melted unsweetened and semisweet chocolates, followed by the softened butter, vanilla, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of the reduced porter until just combined. 

FILL THE CRUST: In a separate bowl, and using a whisk or hand mixer (or a separate bowl for your stand mixer), whip the cream on medium-high speed until it holds stiff peaks, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl until no white streaks remain. Smooth the mixture into the pie crust. Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. 

MAKE THE CHOCOLATE-COVERED “FRIES”: In a large bowl, toss together the potato sticks and melted chocolate until the sticks are completely coated. (Any uncoated potato sticks will soften and become mushy in the refrigerator.) 

Delicately arrange the coated potato sticks across the top of the pie, stacking the sticks high and mighty (a thin layer means that the sticks are packed too tightly) and trying to ensure no clumps are too dense (dense clumps of potato sticks will be difficult to cut through and serve). If decorating with the gold leaf, use a soft food-safe paintbrush to adhere small flakes of the gold to the chocolate-coated potato sticks before the chocolate sets. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. The pie is best eaten within 2 days.) 

Variation:

You can make this pie using the Cocoa Graham Cracker Crust (this page).

Tip: TRANSPORTING PIES

With just the two of us at home (our cats don’t much care for pie), a lot of our pie creations are transported to either the office or someone else’s house to be enjoyed. For transporting whole pies, we find that cake carriers are the best solution. Cake carriers are tall plastic domes designed for safely transporting layer cakes. The high plastic lid ensures that even the highest pile of meringue or whipped cream won’t be smooshed. These carriers can be found online or at some kitchen supply stores. We’ve also had great success with less-expensive cake carriers available at the local dollar store. In a pinch, we have even seen people transporting pies in a large lidded Dutch oven or a photocopy paper box. We also suggest using pieces of nonslip shelf liner from the supermarket or dollar store to help prevent the pie plate from sliding around during sudden starts and stops while on the move. Whatever container you use, make sure to think about how you will transport your pie before you turn on your oven. These pies are too good to wind up upside down on the floor of your car!

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