Monday, April 19, 2010

Chocolate Pretzel Pie

There are some food combinations that just make sense, and others that make me wonder about people's mental states. Doritos and peanut butter? No thank you. Orange jello and vanilla pudding? Ditto. I shouldn't be so quick to judge because I enjoy certain things that most people would have the same reaction to: I dip cookies in water, peanut butter and cream cheese do go well together, and although I haven't tried it yet, I wholeheartedly believe that a french fry dipped in a milkshake must be pretty good. I guess everyone has their own tastes and preferences when it comes to bizarre flavor combinations, but some more unusual hybrids always garner cheers and a few "oh my god, I love those." It seems, that chocolate and pretzels actually are meant to be. A modern classic, I wouldn't call this combination weird, so much as unexpected. It is my belief that the success of this pairing just proves that these two are a match made in heaven; crunchy, smooth, sweet and salty, together they offer every possible type of texture and flavor you could want. The combination is ridiculously satisfying and dangerously addictive, it hits the spot no matter what you're craving.
chocolate pretzel pie
This pie takes the chocolate covered pretzel to another level. I usually steer clear of recipes like this one, knowing that the beauty of a food is often in its simplicity. The way I see it, why mess with the chocolate covered pretzel when it is perfect as-is? However, something about this recipe inspired me. Maybe because I had already had it at the restaurant in New York where it was created, so I knew how good it would be. Maybe because I am scared of tempering chocolate so I would never make my own chocolate-covered pretzels. Whatever it was, this pie was good enough to make twice so far, and I have no doubt that a third time is on the way.
chocolate pretzel pie
Despite a pretzel crust and a pretzel layer in the ganache, this pie has a much higher chocolate to pretzel ratio than the classic. Chocolate lovers will love this. I, however, don't love chocolate that much. What I love is the contrast of flavors and textures, so the second time I made this I increased the pretzel layer in the ganache. No matter how many or few pretzels you add, this pie will hit the spot, with every bite a wave of creamy, melting chocolate and then some crunchy, salty pretzel to balance it out. It's perfection.
chocolate pretzel pie
Chocolate Pretzel Pie
(adapted from Food + Wine who got it from Colleen Grapes at The Harrison)

I tinkered with this recipe a bit replacing milk chocolate with a more bitter semisweet chocolate. I also added a pretzel layer in the filling of the pie to increase the chocolate to pretzel ratio. The first time I only used about a cup, but as I mentioned the second time I increased that to 1 1/2, I preferred the latter, but do make adjustments depending on your ideal ratio.


1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed thin pretzels (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups pretzels, broken into small pieces

1. Make the crust: In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with 3/4 cup of the pretzels and the confectioners’ sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in the flour and egg. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pretzels, being sure to leave some pretzel pieces intact. Flatten the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the dough between the sheets of plastic wrap to a 12-inch round. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough over a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the corners and patch any tears. Trim the overhanging dough and refrigerate the shell for 30 minutes or until firm.
3. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for about 30 minutes, until nearly set. Remove the parchment and weights and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the tart shell is firm; cover the edge with foil if it darkens too much. Let the shell cool completely. Brush the melted chocolate over the bottom and up the side and refrigerate for 10 minutes, until set.
4. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Off the heat, add the milk chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
5. Pour half the filling into the shell. Spread the pretzels over this layer, gently pressing them into the ganache. Pour the remaining ganache over this. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. Sprinkle with crushed pretzels. Cut into wedges, serve.


Anonymous said...

This looks awesome. Chocolate and pretzels were meant to be together.
Like bread and butter.
Or milk and meat.

Sarah said...

oh myyyy! Frenchie that looks delicious!
I am so impressed :)