It was seriously too good not to share. Last night we OMG’d at O Cinema for the last time this summer thanks to an incredible performance by Harry’s Pizzeria chef de cuisine Daniel Ramirez. The menu was a piece of Michigan food history like hand-held pasty pies — akin to empanadas closer to home — made into pot pie for family style service. When Danny mentioned this to Devin, a pastry cook at MGFD, duck fat crust was born.
I was on dessert duty again, this time parchment liner-free (thanks Chef!) and had the self control-rattling task of portioning out MGFD pastry chef Amy Kalinowski’s decadent chocolate chess pie. I knew things would get messy based on past experience with two sheet trays of Banoffee, so this time crema was going to be dolloped to plate. A triumph! Chess pie is actually chest pie. Like pies you can stack in a chest for safe keeping. It’s a southern thing, a piece of food culture that lost the t over time.
Luckily for us here, a guest returned from the theater with a request. Seconds? No, a slice of altruism! She inquired about the recipe, a sweet ending to the meal she will produce this weekend for some very lucky home-bound summer campers. So here you have it: Danny’s adaptation of Amy’s dessert (with her approval of course!) currently on the menu at MGFD, for your home kitchen. After a summer at the mess hall, this might actually be dangerous. Proceed at your own risk!
OMG’d Chocolate Chess Pie
Yields 2, 12-inch pies
2 1/2 cups butter, melted
3 cups semi-sweet dark chocolate, melted
25 ounces evaporated milk
10 whole eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla paste (or 1 vanilla bean)
2 tablespoons coffee extract
5.5 cups of sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 packs Oreo cookies
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 pound melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, and coffee extract for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until incorporated. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to incorporate. Set aside in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap while you make the crust. Pulverize the oreos in a food processor, like bread crumb size and in a large bowl mix with flour and melted butter by hand until the consistency of wet sand. Spray pie tins with lots of pam coating. Press the oreo crust into the pans. Make sure it’s nice and tight, and even thickness, about 1/2 inch throughout. Pour in the batter to fill. It doesn’t rise so do be scared to fill your pans to the level you want. Bake for 30-45 minutes. It should be firm with slight wiggle to it. Let cool on a rack for about a hour. Enjoy topped with whipped cream and berries, vanilla ice cream or simply powdered sugar for chocolate heaven. Any way you slice it, you can’t go wrong!