Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble
Crunchy cacao elevates the crust for this updated take on the Southern classic.
Chef Scott Crawford of the French-style bistro, Jolie, in Raleigh updates the simple Southern custard pie by adding cacao nibs to the butter crust and sprinkling a nutty cornbread crumble on top. Check out 25 more pie recipes that make the world go round.
Featured in: "Middle of Somewhere."
For the Cacao Nib Crust
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 6 tbsp. cacao nibs
- 2 tbsp. ice-cold water
For the Cornbread Crumble and Chocolate Custard
- 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 3⁄4 cup masa harina
- 1⁄4 cup fine cornmeal
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1 1⁄4 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
- 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 6 eggs
- 2 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1 1⁄4 cups heavy cream
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. Add cacao nibs and water; pulse into a smooth dough. Flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 3 hours.
Heat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edges and crimp; chill 30 minutes. Using a fork, prick the dough all over; line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights; bake 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights; cook 15 minutes more.
Make the crumble: Heat oven to 300°. Combine sugar, flour, cornmeal, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined; add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 30 minutes. Break up into coarse crumbs, then cool.
Make the custard: In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and eggs until smooth; stir in milk and cream. Cook over medium until thickened, 10–12 minutes. Stir in chocolate until melted, then pass custard through a fine sieve. Pour into cooled pie crust and top with crumble. Chill before serving.