I am so excited to share this pie with you. I got the idea from a ‘bake from scratch’ cookbook babygirl and I were perusing together. I stopped on a page with a recipe for a peanut butter pie (see it here). I read through it and thought all three parts sounded delicious together - the chocolate crust, the ganache bottom and the fluffy nut topping. But I also immediately wanted to change everything about it. I didn’t want to make a wafer crust (those wafers are expensive! and also pressing down a crumb cookie crust is much more annoying than rolling dough), I wanted more of and a smoother chocolate ganache, and I wanted the top to be made of pistachios because as much as I love peanut butter, I feel like we need to experiment with other nuts.
I decided I’d make my own pistachio butter even if it wasn’t going to be as smooth as commercial brand peanut butter. In the past, when I’ve made it at home it usually turns out chunky. I learned this was not because my food processor wasn’t strong enough, but because I wasn’t letting it run long enough. Usually, once I get to a paste, I figure it’s done and stop. But this time, out of curiosity (and tbh, I was distracted by a little munchkin playing with a faucet of water), I let ‘er rip a lot longer - an extra 15-20 minutes maybe? On and off as I checked for consistency. What I got was not chunky smooth commercial nut butter but the nuts had been allowed to release so much oil that it was almost soupy, with teeny tiny bits of pistachio. Totally perfect for this project!
This pie is a real dream for lovers of the pistachio chocolate combination. From the dreamy decadence in the ganache layer, to the rich and salty pistachio and cream cheese topping it will delight. When I added pomegranate on top for a little crunch and bright flavor, it really brought the whole slice home. I imagine raspberries or strawberries would be equally complementary. I ate about a quarter of this pie myself. I regret nothing.
Pistachio Chocolate Ganache Pie
12 oz of shelled roasted pistachios (if you are using raw, increase roasting time)
Preheat oven to 400, spread nuts over a half cookie sheet and roast for about 5 minutes (for roasted nuts) or 7-10 (for raw). Shake the pan every 4 minutes for even roasting. You’re looking for them to start smelling and releasing some oils and once you’re there, remove from heat.
Put the nuts in a food processor and begin processing on high. Every so often you’ll need to stop it to scrape it down so it can resume processing. First, the nuts will grind into tiny pieces, then become a thick paste, and after awhile (sometimes this can take up to 30 minutes) the nuts will finally release all their oils and it will turn into a smooth liquid. With my fp this takes about 45 minutes and the longer you go, the smoother your nut butter will get.
Chocolate crust recipe, adapted from nyt cooking
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 1 TB organic powdered sugar, sifted
¼ cup dutch process cocoa, sifted
1 large egg yolk
150 grams all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until combined. Scrape bowl. Add the cocoa and egg and mix, then add flour and mix until dough comes together in a ball. With your hands, form the ball into a flat disk.
Butter the bottom and sides of a tart pan (9 or 10 inches) and press dough into the pan and up the sides. To get an even layer, this will take time. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to help you flatten the bottom. Over the crust, place a layer of foil and pour enough sugar* into it to fill it. Spreading it into the edge of the foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and sugar and bake for another 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
*I use sugar a la BraveTart instead of pie weights because it more evenly distributes the weight for an even baking. The sugar will toast, but only very slightly and is perfectly fine to reuse in baking.
Chocolate ganache bottom
6 oz dark chocolate, chopped finely
6 oz heavy cream
Pinch sea salt
Warm heavy cream to simmer, until bubbles appear on the side. Pour over chopped chocolate, stir to ensure the cream gets to the bottom, let sit for 5 minutes. Stir, stir and stir until the ganache is smooth. Add salt and stir to combine. Pour ganache in bottom of pie, set in fridge to set for 30 minutes.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup pistachio butter
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
method and pie assembly:
first, place a bowl in the freezer to cool it down for the whipped cream. In a stand mixer beat cream cheese and pistachio butter at high speed until smooth. Add sugar , honey vanilla and sea salt and beat. Set aside. Using a whisk and the cold bowl from the freezer, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks. I do this by hand because I find it’s too easy to overbeat in a stand mixer. Once you’ve reached stiff peaks, add ⅓ of the pistachio mix to the whipped cream and fold to combine. Add another third, and then the last third folding gently to combine. By the spoonful, top the pistachio filling onto the ganache. Place in fridge for about 3 hours to set.