pie 2: live free or pie hard

SEQUEL TIME.  Because this is the sequel to the seminal pie post, it needed a funny, punny movie sequel play on words.  “Life Free or Pie Hard” was the winner for its true ridiculousness.  “Pie Another Day” was a close second.  Runner-ups included “Pie-r Pie-r”, “Pie Story 2”, “Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Pie”, and “P2: The Pie-ty Ducks.”  Any better suggestions are, of course, absolutely welcome.

And some credit where credit is due: almost all of the photos on this blog are taken by a very patient M. who deals with questions like “What’s the best lighting for rhubarb?” like a pro.  (And the answer to that question: there is none.)

GRANDMOTHER’S HERSHEY BAR PIE, from the kitchen of my grandmother

1/2 cup milk (whole is best)
24 large marshmallows
6 1/2 ounce Hershey with Almond bars, shaved
1 pint whipping cream
1 9″ baked pie shell
1 extra Hershey with Almonds bar for garnish

Heat milk over a double boiler or in a glass bowl over simmering water.  Do not boil.  Add marshmallows and stir until thoroughly melted.  Add shaved chocolate bars and stir until thoroughly melted.

Cool thoroughly.

Whip 1/2 pint whipping cream and fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.

Pour into pie shell and refrigerate at least two hours.

Whip remaining cream and spread over the filling or pipe through a pastry bag with a rose tip.  Top with chocolate curls from the extra Hershey bar, if it’s managed to survive.


This is a very sweet pie, so you need to be in the mood for marshmallows and chocolate.  (I know, I know.  That sounds ludicrous.  Who isn’t in the mood for marshmallows and chocolate?  But it suffered when eaten in contrast to fruit-laden pies.)

If shaving the chocolate is too time-consuming or if you come dangerously close to shaving your finger instead of the chocolate (*ahem*), an alternative is to cut the chocolate in very slender strips with a good chef’s knife or santoku knife.  It melts just the same, but might not be as pretty for garnish.

And speaking of the garnish… a word to the wise.  It is very, very dangerous, when mixing marshmallows and chocolate, to leave the chocolate pieces that you are saving for the top on the kitchen counter.  Not only can they disappear into the mouths of bystanders (piestanders?) before you can say “stop!”, but they are also awfully, awfully tempting to the piemaker.  I would recommend buying a little extra and setting the extra in plain view while hiding the rest.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB PIE, straight from Cook’s Illustrated

1 pie dough (for both top and bottom)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1.5 pounds rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (peel if tough)
1 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 egg white, beaten
pinch of salt

Confession time.  This is the first recipe that wasn’t altered at all.  We followed it to the letter except for one thing that was a decision based on necessity rather than artistry (ran out of arrowroot, substituted one tablespoon of corn starch for one tablespoon of the three tablespoons of arrowroot).  And because of that, I am going to recommend going to the source for the recipe.  If you’re not a member of CooksIllustrated.com, you can join for free for 14 days to get the recipe (and believe me, this recipe was worth it).


Absolutely amazing recipe.  Cooks Illustrated, and Nick, the co-pie-lot in the kitchen for pie day (oh, come on, there had to be one more pie pun before this was over), hit this out of the park.