I love pie like Brick Tamland loves lamp. The love affair began when I crossed the threshold of Emporium Pies, a little slice of heaven nestled in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas. With items like Red Velvet Cream Cheese Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Crust Pumpkin Pie, it’s hard to not instantly fall in love with the Emporium. The great coffee and almost overwhelmingly friendly service are just bonuses that go along with these creatively contrived confections.
The only negative thing I can say about the Emporium is that the pies are a tad pricey to be buying on the regular. $30 for a normal pie and $40 for their deep dish apple “Lord of the Pies” does not a full wallet make. Therefore, there comes a time in every man’s life where he must buckle down and take the pie making process into his own hands. And so that is what I did.
Since I respect and value all pies equally, regardless of gender, race, creed, or flavor, I found myself at a loss for direction when I made the (highly impulsive) decision to bake my own pie. I decided to crowd source ideas, and from my girlfriend I got toffee pretzel crust with a chocolate sea salt filling. While I didn’t exactly follow the toffee part of the suggestion — to be honest I always thought toffee was what old people eat while watching Maury at 3pm before bedtime — I took the rest of the suggestion and went ahead with this pie.
One motto I’ve always stood by for pies (and tarts, and quiches, and pizza) is that a pie is only as good as its crust. And by god this was a good crust. The toughest part of making this recipe was crushing up the pretzels to use in the crust. It’s a similar method to graham cracker crust except saltier. To crush up the pretzels I put a half pound into a plastic bag and beat it senseless with my hands. Then I threw the bag on the ground and stomped on it for a while, doing a jig-like dance atop the pretzels. Next, I took the bag of semi-crushed pretzels and ran it over about 40 times with my car. Then I took the bag and emptied it into my Vitamix. Then finally, I poured the crumbs into a mortar and crushed it vigorously for half an hour with a pestle. At this point I had a pretty fine consistency of pretzel crumbs and was good to go. If I had to do it all over, I would probably just start and end with running over the pretzels with my car; it seemed to prove most effective. Using brown sugar and butter as my only other two ingredients for the crust basically added the toffee flavor in anyways.
After baking the crust, I made a simple chocolate ganache, and poured it into the cooled pie crust for it to harden in the refrigerator. I also sprinkled a smattering of sea salt on top of the pie, as if the pretzel crust weren’t salty enough. Once the pie hardens, the obvious next step is to eat it. And god damn was it good, if I do say so myself.
- 2.5 cups (half lb.) of crushed pretzels, crushed in one of the myriad aforementioned ways
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- 3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
- 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces (I used 62% cocoa but that can be adjusted)
- 1 1/4 cups of cream
- sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Mix crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar into bowl. Combine.
- Pack mixture into 9″ pie dish, making sure there are no holes in the crust.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove to cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Bring 1 1/4 cups of cream to a simmer in a sauce pan.
- With chocolate in a glass bowl, pour cream over and mix until all chocolate is melted.
- Pour into the pie crust and smooth out.
- Scatter the sea salt
- Refrigerate to let set for 3 hours