Guys, this pie.
I’m completely, utterly nuts over it. The idea came to me last week-end while still tidying up from the holidays. What on earth were we to do with all of those in-shell nuts I bought? And why, for heaven’s sake, did I buy so many to begin with?! I say this, but I know why. It’s the same reason I buy those stuck together, hard as a rock, assorted Christmas candies. When I was growing up, there was always a bowl of mixed nuts sitting out during the holidays. It was tradition at our house, and at my grandparents. With the same old-school nutcracker that my mom had for years, the bowl of nuts came out and stayed out for the duration of the winter. As kids, we cracked them simply for entertainment purposes, nut pieces and shells flying across the room. We were so convinced that if we just squeezed hard enough, we could crack them open with our bare hands (never happened I can assure you). But growing up, I certainly began to appreciate the value of shelled whole nuts a little more. My husband often cracks a few for a quick snack just before dinner. Sometimes we are catching up about our day, and we’re both just absent mindedly cracking and eating amongst the chatter. When the kitchen is busy with guests and family, someone is undoubtedly cracking open a meaty walnut or a crunchy filbert, while usually the brazil nuts are largely ignored.
So there I was, holidays over, company dwindling, and hoards of mixed nuts left. I knew without a doubt that I would be using the walnuts for a pie. A warm pie to me is the ultimate comfort food. A sweet, nutty winter pie seemed just right. And adding chocolate and sea salt was a logical step. Crunchy walnuts, dark chocolate and sea salt amongst a tender, flaky pastry? Count me in!
I knew I would be using a recipe similar to pecan pie for my base. I took a few recipes I currently have, and adjusted them until I found something that I was happy with. The sea salt just takes this pie over the top. It’s only a subtle salt flavor, but one that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients. So perfectly in fact, I’ve made it two more times since then. So. Good.
I love baking pies in the winter. I usually keep lots of local summer fruit frozen just for that reason. However, a nutty, decadent Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie is not only an appropriate alternative to fruit, I guarantee you that it will warm up your house and chase those winter blues away!
So I think I’ve given that ages old tradition of whole nuts during the holidays a new twist. And when my children are in their own houses, and questioning their own winter bowl of nuts, “why do I put these out?” and “why on earth did I buy so many?!”, they’ll think back to these days in our kitchen. And they’ll do it just the same, after all, its tradition.
Happy baking friends,
Salty Walnut Chocolate Pie
Preheat oven to 375°
- 9″ unbaked pie shell
- 1 cup Hershey’s dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1 tsp sea salt (more to taste if desired)
- Scatter the cup of chocolate chips on the bottom of the unbaked shell, set the shell aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar. Add the flour, eggs and corn syrup. Mix well. Mix in the walnut pieces. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, on top of the chocolate chips, and bake for 45 mins to an hour. The filling will be puffed up and set at the sides, but still slightly jiggly in the center. Don’t hesitate to leave it in longer if need be, the filling should be slightly jiggly but not sloshing around or it won’t set. Cool completely and sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.