Award-winning chef Sean Brock, author of the new cookbook Heritage ($26; amazon.com), serves modern down-home cuisine at Husk and McCrady's restaurants in Charleston (along with a second Husk location in Nashville). Brock credits the region's culinary renaissance to "access to better ingredients, from shrimp to heirloom beans and incredible peaches."
Case in point: this rich chocolate confection, which Brock created to showcase the chocolate made by Nashville's Olive and Sinclair ($7 per 3 oz.; oliveandsinclair.com). You can substitute it with any high-end chocolate containing up to 75 percent cacao.
Serves: 8 Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes (includes chilling time) Active Time: 45 minutes Make Ahead: Up to 3 days
For Chocolate Crust: 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tbsp sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, cubed 6 tbsp ice water (more if needed)
For Filling: 1½ cups sugar 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder ½ tsp kosher salt 4 tbsp unsalted butter 1½ oz. 67% bittersweet chocolate ½ cup whole milk 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Topping: 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, for serving
1. Chill the bowl, lid, and steel blade of a food processor along with all the ingredients for the crust (except the water) in the freezer for 1 hour.
2. Put flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in food processor; whir for about 1 minute to combine. Add butter; pulse 2–3 times, creating pea-size pieces. Slowly add water through the feed tube, pulsing 4 or 5 times to incorporate.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape into a disk. (It may require kneading to come together.) Wrap tightly in plastic; chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Start rolling dough by lightly pressing with a rolling pin from the center out to create a 13" circle, 1/8" thick.
6. Loosely fold dough edges into the center of the circle; transfer to a 10" pie pan, and unfold. Gently press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (You'll have about ½" overhang.) Remove extra dough with a knife, then fold dough under to create a clean edge around the entire rim. Let crust rest in the refrigerator or freezer for 20 minutes to prevent shrinkage.
7. Cover crust with foil or parchment paper; fill with pie weights (or dry rice). Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven; remove weights and uncover. Prick bottom of the crust a few times with a fork. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for about 15 minutes, until crust is golden and appears dry. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
1. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Put butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water, insert the top, and set over low heat (the water should never be hotter than a simmer). Stir butter and chocolate with a silicone spatula until melted, scraping down sides as necessary and being careful not to incorporate air. Remove from heat. Pour over the sugar mixture, and whisk to combine.
3. Whisk in milk, then eggs and vanilla.
1. Pour filling into chocolate crust.
2. Bake pie for 30 minutes.Rotate front to back, and bake for an additional 20–25 minutes, or until filling sets and no longer jiggles in the center. Let pie cool to room temperature on a baking rack, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing. (Tightly covered, the pie will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.) Serve at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.