Four kinds of chocolate – cocoa, bittersweet, milk, and white – make a super creamy filling all nestled in a cookie-like hazelnut flour crust and topped with whipped mascarpone swirled with more chocolate. Adapted from Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin.
It’s been a busy week in Bojon! Among other milestones that I’ll share later, last Sunday, Alternative Baker won the IACP award for best Health and Special Diet cookbook of 2016. I couldn’t be more honored! I’ve read that the judges test out recipes from the books they choose, so I’m extra grateful for all the wonderful volunteers who signed up, shopped, baked, tasted, and sent me their thoughts, critiques, and helpful feedback on the recipes to make them rock-solid. THANK YOU! *I’ll be celebrating at Books Inc. in Santa Clara this Tuesday March 14th, a.k.a Pi(e) Day, along with GF cookbook author Jane Bonacci, so come by to nerd out on weird flours and ask us all your toughest GF baking questions. Hope to see you there!*
Today I’m sharing a recipe from MY favorite baking book of 2016 by IACP nominee Irvin Lin. I’ve been following Irvin’s blog Eat The Love for nearly as long as I’ve been blogging. I was searching for bergamot recipes one night, having tracked down some of the rare fruits at Berkeley Bowl, and this beauty popped up. I immediately fell in love with Irvin’s creative flavor combinations, beautiful photos, and the wit and humor he conveys in his writing. I spent a good few hours clicking through his posts, one of which contained photos of a Bay Area wedding at which a good friend of mine was also a guest! It’s a small world.
After being a fangirl for so long, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Irvin IRL recently, where he’s every bit as awesome. It was Irvin who videoed IACP announcing Alternative Baker while he, Molly, and Jane cheered me on. I watched it about 50 times.
When Irvin’s gorgeous book Marbled, Swirled, and Layered arrived last fall, I ripped it open and began pouring over the recipes. I must have marked every one. I’d gladly pull a Julie/Julia and bake a work of art from Irvin’s book every day of the year. I’d start with the Honey-Lavender Cheesecake Bars, work through to the Rainbow Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting, and finish things off with the Vanilla and Peach-Bourbon Ice Cream Pie with Honey-Cornflake Crust. I want it all.
Irvin’s baking philosophy is to let the natural beauty of baked goods shine by creating organic swirls, layers, and marbling effects in recipes, while layering in compelling flavors and new combinations. There’s a shaker lemon tart that’s enhanced with fresh mint and a masa harina crust, a butterscotch and vanilla layer cake coated in a smoky lapsang souchang frosting, and brownies made with caramelized white chocolate and swirled with balsamic-roasted strawberries. When I page through the book, Irvin’s inventiveness, creativity, and attention to detail make me want to cry (and so does thinking about how hard he must have worked to develop all these recipes!) While most recipes use more traditional ingredients – butter, sugar, wheat flour, eggs, etc., – Irvin brings in alternative flours (such as teff and mesquite) and sweeteners (maple and honey) to add depth of flavor, and he lists a couple of GF flour blends to swap into recipes.
Irvin’s characteristic writing style makes for a fun read, and he provides helpful little tips in each recipe, as though he’s standing right there in the kitchen with you, cracking jokes as you crack eggs. The photos, taken by one of my very favorite photographers Linda Xiao, highlight the beauty of the recipes. They’re simple and bold, with muted tones and simple textures that allow the food to star in each shot.
It was nearly impossible to choose a recipe to share, but after months of deliberating, I finally settled on this pie. And what a place to start! Just making it is a highly sensual experience. First you press the cookie crust into the pie pan and bake it, letting off a roasty-toasty chocolate scent that makes you ravenous. I decided to try this with my cocoa-almond tart crust from Alternative Baker, but made with hazelnut flour, and it worked like a dream. Next, you make a big batch of vanilla custard which you cook, stirring, until thick and creamy. You divide this among three bowls each filled with a different kind of chocolate – bittersweet, milk, and white – and you stir to form three silky custards. You slather these into the pie shell, give it a good chill, fold more chocolate into whipped cream and smear it over the top. As I told Irvin, “This pie is pure chocolate porn!”
In the original version, whipped cream gets stabilized with gelatin, but for a vegetarian option, I whipped some mascarpone in instead. I also accidentally added an extra half-cup of milk to the custard, so my pie was extra creamy, though thankfully still sliceable. I’ve included the original quantities below which should yield a firmer pie.
Despite my flubs, this pie is well-loved. A crispy crust that smacks of cocoa and toasted hazelnut meets chocolate strata that capture the tastes of bittersweet, dark milk, and buttery white chocolate flecked with vanilla bean. I can imagine other flavors sneaking their way in here – perhaps a shot of bourbon in the custard, bananas layered into the filling, or grass green matcha whipped into the topping. I can’t wait to try out more of Irvin’s divine recipes, and to make this pie for the next special occasion that demands a knock-out dessert. If you’re a baker who loves inventive flavors and gorgeous results, this book is a must. I plan to bake from it for many years to come.
- 1⁄2 cup (80 g) sweet white rice flour
- 1⁄2 cup (55 g) hazelnut meal (such as Bob’s Red Mill; or almond flour)
- 1⁄2 cup (45 g) cocoa powder (preferably dutch-process)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) tapioca flour
- 1⁄4 cup (50 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- 1⁄4 plus 1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 tablespoons (70 g) cold, unsalted butter, diced into 1⁄2” cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ounces (85 g) bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao mass), finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons (20 g) dutch-process cocoa powder
- 4 ounces (115) dark milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 8 ounces (170 g) white chocolate (such as Green and Black’s), finely chopped
- 1 cup (200 g) organic granulated cane sugar
- ½ cup (60 g) cornstarch
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract)
- 3 cups (710 ml) whole milk, divided use
- 1 ½ cups (355 ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream, divided use
- 1 ounce (30 g) dark milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 8 ounces (1 cup, 235 ml) mascarpone
- melted dark milk chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sweet rice flour and hazelnut meal with the cocoa powder, tapioca starch, sugar and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and drizzle with the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to medium-low and run until the dough comes together in clumps and the butter is worked through, 3–5 minutes. (It will seem as though the dough won’t come together, but don’t worry – it will!)
- Dump the crumbs into a 10-inch pie pan (see headnote for other pan options) and press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides, starting with the sides and then moving to the bottom, keeping the edges square. (It usually takes me about 5 minutes to make it look pretty.) Chill until firm, 20 minutes.
- Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake until slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and, while it’s still hot, press the sides and bottom with the back of a spoon. This will help it hold together when cool.
- Place the bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Place the milk chocolate in another medium bowl. And place the white chocolate in a third bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and ¾ cup of the milk. Combine the remaining 2 ¼ cups milk with the cream in a large pot and bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and, whisking constantly, slowly drizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return the custard to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick and just reaches a simmer, 5-7 minutes.
- Pour about one-third of the custard (about 450 grams) through a strainer and into the bowl with the white chocolate. Pour another third into the bowl of milk chocolate, and pour the rest into the bowl of dark chocolate. Stir each custard with a spatula until smooth, starting with the white chocolate, then the milk chocolate, then the dark chocolate (no need to clean the spatula if you work in this order).
- Spread the dark chocolate filling over the bottom of the cooked and cooled pie shell in an even layer. Spread the milk chocolate filling over that, and top with the white chocolate filling, spreading it into an even layer.
- Cover the pie with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly to the top of the pie and chill overnight or until firm.
- Place the chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a small pot of barely simmering water, stirring to melt the chocolate. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the cream until the chocolate is smooth, adding more cream if needed. Let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip together the mascarpone and remaining cream until firm peaks form; err on the side of overwhipping so that the cream will be firm enough to slice. Remove the bowl from the mixer and drizzle the chocolate over the cream, folding it 2-3 times to create streaks.
- Spread the whipped mascarpone over the pie and chill until firm, 30 minutes. Drizzle the top with more melted chocolate if you like. Cut the pie into wedges and serve. The pie keeps well, refrigerated airtight, for up to 3 days.