Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Capitol Grille's Chocolate Peanut Butter Chess Pie

After a year and a half it seems that Sugar Pies is really garnering some attention. Lately I've had several inquiries about partnering with various companies to test and develop recipes using their products.

In amongst those inquiries I received a lovely note from the folks at The Capitol Grille in Nashville, TN. The Grille is located in the historic and famous Hermitage Hotel (a must see when you're in Nashville!) They have a new pastry chef, Megan Williams, who seems to be creating some delectable desserts. They wanted to share her recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Chess Pie with me to see if I'd be interested in trying it out for the home cook. Well, chocolate and peanut butter developed by a pastry chef - how could I resist?

My version isn't nearly as beautiful as Megan's, I really need a tool to help my crust crimping, but the taste is great. I found the recipe very easy to follow for the most part and would only add a couple things to it to assist the less experienced cook. I chose to decorate the pie with some piped whipped cream (in retrospect, I think just mounding some on top would have been even better!). I also sprinkled with some cocoa and chocolate sprinkles and curls.

The taste is outstanding, the chocolate flavors with peanut butter are classic and this is creamy and rich - almost like a chocolate custard! You'll want to trust the directions on when to take it out. You're going to be really tempted to leave it in the oven too long because of the "jiggle." I suggest you think of this more like you would a cheesecake and look for the same type of set edges and jiggly center you do there.

I found I needed a little bit more than the 1/2 cup of peanut butter to get a nice base (a couple tablespoons).

Even the pie crust was a snap. The original calls for the crust to be made using a pastry cutter or your hands. I've always found I can't work nearly quickly enough with my hands in a pastry dough to get it done before I soften the butter and shortening. So, that leaves two alternatives. If you have a food processor you can pulse the dry mixture and butter/shortening to get the right "meal type" consistency or if you have a heavy duty mixer you can use that. I chose to use my handy Kitchen-Aid Pro for this task and it came through with flying colors (as always). However, if you're terrified of pie crusts you can always use a refrigerated dough, but, this crust is really good as long as you don't overwork it. Without any alcohol or vinegar to impede gluten formation it could get a bit chewy if you beat it and handle it too long.

This is a really nice pie and a great way to bring a scrumptious restaurant dessert home and I urge you to give it a try!

Recipe: Capitol Grille's Chocolate Peanut Butter Chess Pie


Flaky Pie Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 ounces cold butter, cut in 1/2" cubes, (1/2 cup plus 2 tbs.)
  • 1 ounce cold Crisco, cut in 1/2" cubes, (2 tbs.)
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water
Chocolate Chess Filling
  • 4 ounces butter, (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural), plus 2-3 tbs. if needed


  1. Combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Cut butter and Crisco into dry ingredients using a biscuit cutter or your fingers, working quickly, until the mixture is mealy. Note: You can also do this step in a food processor by pulsing in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add cold water and mix to combine until a dough forms. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Roll dough to 1/8" thick and make pie shell. Freeze for 30 minutes to help it keep its shape in the oven.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°. In a double broiler, melt chocolate and butter. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add eggs one at a time and whisk.
  4. Spread the peanut butter over the frozen crust.
  5. Pour the chocolate filling in and bake pie for 35 to 45 minutes until chocolate filling is set, shiny on top, and jiggles slightly. Cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

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