Brownies. Pie. Relegated to separate quadrants of the baked good world, always on separate shelves in bakery cases.
But why, when they're so much better together?
And so, in the spirit of sweet unity, I've baked what may in fact be a masterpiece: the Brownie Pie.
Comprised of a chocolate graham crust, rich, fudgy brownie filling, and topped off with a copious amount of luxuriant cocoa buttercream frosting and a festive array of malt balls, this baby weighs about the same as (if not more than) a newborn. Of course, it's a good thing it's not actually a baby--otherwise you might be coming closer to understanding why some species eat their young.
One may be tempted to call this beast of a baked good "too much", but based on how quickly it disappeared at a Pie Day party, I'm inclined to say it's "just enough".
Brownie Pie. Now, instead of asking what's been keeping these treats apart for so long, it's time to ask--what are you waiting for?
Here's how to make it.
- One chocolate pie crust (I used a Keebler ready-made crust; but here's a recipe if you wanted to make your own)
- One batch of your favorite brownie recipe (note: I used a fudgy brownie recipe, which is shown below. You could probably use a more cakey recipe with similar results; find the difference between chewy, fudgy and cakey brownies here).
- One batch of cocoa buttercream (recipe follows)
- Malt balls to garnish the top (optional)
- Prepare your pie crust (either make it or take it out of the package); leave it off to the side.
- Prepare your brownie batter to the directions specified in your recipe (or on your box mix--I won't judge). But at the point where you would normally put the batter in a pan, instead put it in your pie crust. Fill it about 2/3 full; you might have extra brownie batter.
- Bake on top of a cookie sheet (just in case of overflow) at the temperature and heat specified in your recipe; test the doneness the same way you normally would, by inserting a pick in the center and making sure it comes out clean.
- When it's ready, remove your brownie pie from the oven, and let it cool. I didn't let mine cool very long because I was pressed for time; but ideally, you'd let it cool until it reached room temperature.
- Prepare your cocoa buttercream or whatever chocolate frosting you'd like, but make sure that it is a fairly spreadable (not too stiff) consistency--because brownies have a flaky texture on top, you want to make sure that you can spread it with ease and won't bring up too many of the crumbs on top (that just looks messy!). Spread it on top of the brownie pie, leaving a little bit of the brownie showing on the sides.
- If desired, garnish with malt balls (I used Malteasers).
Recipes I used:
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have your prepared crust ready on the side.
- In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
- While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
- Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
- Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
- Once you've put this batter in your crust, bake for about 30 minutes (I baked mine on top of a cookie sheet in case of overflow; it didn't end up being a problem but better safe than sorry) or until a cake pick comes out clean (it may be longer depending on the thickness of your crust and cookie sheet).
- 1 cup butter
- 4 tablespoons cocoa
- 2-3 tablespoons milk, as needed
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2-3 cups (use more or less, to your desired consistency) confectioners' sugar, sifted
Cream butter; add cocoa, mixing well. Add milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar until it has reached your desired spreading consistency. Spread immediately.