Archive for December 2006

Chocolate Nut Pie

I’ve never been a big fan of pecan pie; it’s a little too rich and too sweet for me. So imagine my surprise when, with an extra pie crust and some time on my hands a couple Thanksgivings ago, I made a chocolate nut pie (straight out of Joy of Cooking) and, voila! Neither too rich nor too sweet! It tastes like a nice fudgey brownie inside a pie crust. Now it’s a standard part of our Thanksgiving menu.

I made this with hickory nuts, which are smaller and more flavorful than pecans, but the only source for them I know is my dad, who gathers them every fall and painstakingly shells them. You can also use pecans.

Prepare one 9″ pre-baked pie crust (recipe below).

Preheat the oven to 375.

Spread on a baking sheet:
2 c nuts (hickory or pecan), coarsely chopped

Toast the nuts, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 6-10 minutes. Cool slightly.

Chop 6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (or a combination) and melt. Set aside.

Whisk until blended:
3 large eggs
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c corn syrup
1 T melted butter
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt

Whisk one quarter of the filling into the melted chocolate, then blend the result into the remaining filling. Stir in the toasted nuts. Warm the prebaked pie crust in the oven until it is hot to the touch, then pour in the filling. Bake until the edges are slightly puffed and the center seems set but still soft, 25-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Pie Crust
There are plenty of other recipes for pie crust, and some may well be better, but this is the one I remember, and it tastes perfectly delicious to me.

For one crust:
Whirl in the food processor (fitted with steel blade) for a few seconds:
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 t sugar
1/2 salt

1/2 c cold solid shortening (I use half butter, half vegetable shortening), cut into small chunks

Pulse in the food processor in short bursts until the fat is the size of small peas.

With the machine off, drizzle 3-4 T ice water over the top and pulse again until the dough begins to clump into small balls. Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or so.

To prebake crust, preheat oven to 400.

Roll the chilled dough out and fit it into your pan. If your kitchen is warm or you’ve spent more than a few minutes rolling out the dough, stick the pan of dough into the fridge for 15 minutes or so to chill.

Smooth a sheet of aluminum foil over the bottom and sides of the crust, flaring the excess foil out over the edge to keep it from overbrowning. Fill the liner with raw beans, rice, or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Now carefully lift the foil with the weights out of the pie pan, prick the crust all over with a fork, and return to the oven to bake until golden brown, an additional 5-10 minutes. Check the crust occasionally to make sure it doesn’t puff up along the bottom (prick it again with a fork, then press down with the back of a spoon if it does, but if the crust was nice and cold going into the oven, you shouldn’t have this problem).

Whisk together, and brush the inside of the crust with a glaze of
1 egg yolk and a pinch of salt

Return to the oven to set the glaze (1-2 minutes), then fill the shell while hot.

A Difference of Opinion

Ben didn’t want to take a bath. Negotiations were going badly. Finally, I resorted to the timeworn, last resort of the weary parent:

“Ben, we’re the parents. We’re in charge.”

But he has an answer for everything, our newly government-conscious boy:

“Actually, I’m the mayor of this house. I’m in charge.”

Ah, he may be the mayor, but he still wound up in the bath.


Last year, we were given the wonderful Oreo Matchin’ Middles game, a set of plastic cookies that you can open just like real oreos.

Last month, I made some cotton ball “ice cream” because Ben wanted to play scoop shop.

Today, Eli invented the ice cream cookie sandwich.

We are so proud.

Calling All Step Parents!

Literary Mama is doing a special issue focusing on STEPPARENTING, and we need your help and your writing!

Literary Mama has always welcomed — encouraged — made it our mission — to feature the many voices and faces of motherhood. That includes stepmothers, of course.

Next March, we’re publishing a month’s worth of writing by stepmothers about the stepparenting experience. Please submit! And please, if you know a stepmother who has something contribute, pass this Call for Submissions on to her.

And if you’re a mother who is not a stepmother but who writes about stepparenting, please send us your work, too.

Call for Submissions
(Please circulate widely)

Literary Mama, an internationally-acclaimed online literary magazine ( seeks top-notch writing for a special March 2007 issue: Stepparenting.

According to The Stepfamily Foundation, 64% of families today live in some form of divorced and/or stepfamily relationship. From Snow White’s evil witch of a stepmother to Hamlet’s stepfather (who killed Hamlet’s dad, married his mother, and stole the throne), stepmothers and stepfathers get a bad rap in literature. And the stepparent point of view? Rarely seen and explored.

For our Special Issue on Stepparenting, Literary Mama seeks fiction, creative nonfiction, literary reflections, poetry, and a guest column (“Faces of Motherhood”) BY stepparents ABOUT the stepparenting experience.

Deadline: December 31, 2006

Our guidelines vary by department. Before submitting, review individual guidelines at:

Submissions in the text of an email along with a brief cover letter. Please put “Stepparenting Submission from Your Name” in the subject heading.
Editor: Susan Ito —

Submissions both in the text of an email and as an attachment.
Editor: Shari MacDonald Strong —

Submissions of 750-5000 words in the text of an email and/or attached Word document, along with a brief cover letter.
Editor: Caroline Grant —

Poems of any length and form. Maximum of four poems per submission. Please send submissions in the text of an email.
Editor: Rachel Iverson —

Seeking personal essays of 600-1200 words about how being a “mom-by-marriage” makes you feel out of step with the mainstream image of mothers. Send submissions in the text of an email, along with a brief cover letter.
Editors: Marjorie Osterhout and Erin Sullivan —

General notes:
* Response time up to 4 weeks.
* Authors retain rights. Please credit us if your work is republished.
* Simultaneous submissions okay as long as you notify us if accepted elsewhere.
* We prefer previously unpublished work. We will consider reprints, however, if you have the rights and the work is not currently available online.
* Electronic submissions only.
* Literary Mama attracts over 30,000 unique visitors a month. We do not, however, pay our writers or editors — we are all volunteers here.

More Questions?