John Barricelli and Me (and Choc Pie)

September 17, 2010

John Barricelli has been on Martha’s show many times and he’s also appeared in the magazines and is a host of Everyday Food. He’s one of her cast of characters. He kind of fascinates me because there’s something weird about him. Is he nervous around Martha? Uncomfortable? Annoyed? I don’t know what it is but I keep watching. He always seems so very confident about his baking and Martha always raves about his bakery cafe. He’s got a new cookbook out called The Sono Baking Company Cookbook, which I just got. So far I’m in love.

My first try from it was the chocolate cream pie. Now this is something I love, but never, never have. No one serves that anymore, but they should.

This pie was to die for. Major OMG moment. The crust is incredible. I know it sounds simple (graham cracker with chocolate) but it ends up having this fabulous nutty flavor and crunchy texture. And the filling. Well. It was stupendous. I put whipped cream on top of mine as instructed, but next time I wouldn’t bother. It doesn’t need it.


1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1  2/3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely grated on large holes of a grater (about 1/2 cup)


6 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

3 cups milk

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla

4 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch pie pan.

To make the crust, mix the crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt. Add the chocolate. Press into the pan. Chill for 30 min, then bake for 18-20 min.

To make the filling: whisk egg yolks, half the sugar, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of milk.

In a saucepan, mix the rest of the sugar, the rest of the milk and the cocoa, chocolate and salt. Bring to a simmer, whisking. Gradually pour the milk mix into the egg mix, tempering it.

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan then boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 10 seconds, whisking, making sure it boils in the center of the pan, not just on the sides. It will thicken to a pudding like consistency.

Pour into a bowl and use a mixer for 2-3 minutes to cool it. Add vanilla. With the mixer running, add butter in small pieces, a little at a time. Pour it into the pie crust and chill for 2-3 hours.

If you want whipped cream on top, whisk 3/4 cup heavy cream with 2 tbsp powdered sugar until soft peaks form then spread on top of chilled pie.

Now for my notes! I goofed and dumped the cocoa into the eggs instead of the saucepan. I was not about to dump it out so I left it and everything turned out just fine.

I used a deep dish pie pan and I can’t imagine how you could use anything else since it was filled to the rim. Make sure you get that crust all the way up the sides. Next time, I think I am going to double the crust because I had trouble getting it to completely cover my pan.

I think it needs to chill longer than 2-3 hours. It wasn’t cold enough at that point in my opinion. Give it a good 5-6 hours.

This was fabulous. I’m going to try it with dark chocolate next time I think.

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A Tale of Two Pies

November 29, 2008

We always have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – it’s a tradition. My recipe uses the crust recipe I got from my mother and the filling that I am embarrassed to admit came from an ad for Libby’s canned pumpkin! Martha has a recipe for Traditional Pumpkin Pie on page 82 of November Living. It was time for a pie-off.

First I made my own crust. This is a simple, no hassle crust. I dump 1 1/3 c of  flour, 1 stick of butter, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar in the Cuisinart and process till it looks like meal. Then I gradually add 1/4 c ice water until it forms into a ball. I roll it out (and it rolls out smoothly and easily) and pour in the filling and bake. Easy and reliable.

Next I did Martha’s crust. Martha calls for 2 1/2 c flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and 2 sticks of butter. Then you add 3-4 tbsp cold water. Quite different than mine – twice as much butter and almost twice as much flour and much



less water. Martha directs you to chill it for 1 hour before rolling it out. I did that. I rolled it out and it was a giant mess. It ripped and shredded all over the place. I ended up having to patch it in places once it was in the pan.

Then Martha says to freeze the pie shell for 15 minutes. When you take it out, you prick it with a fork, put parchment paper inside it and fill it with pie weights. Then



you bake for 15 min at 375. Take it out and remove the pie weights and parchment paper and bake for another 15-20 min until it is brown.

By the time I did all this, my pie was completely done. I was feeling a bit annoyed at how complicated Martha’s process was. Thank goodness I have two

Martha's crust baked


ovens though or I would have been in trouble! That turkey needed to go in while all this was happening!

Next, let’s take a look at the 2 fillings. My fabulous Libby’s pie is made up of 3/4 c white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 2 eggs, 15 oz pumpkin and 12 oz evaporated milk.

Martha’s filling is 3/4 c brown sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 tsp ginger, 3/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs, 12 oz evaporated milk and 15 oz canned pumpkin. Again, different than mine. She uses an extra egg, brown sugar instead of white, and nutmeg instead of cloves. The cornstarch is extra also.

My pie

My pie

My pie bakes at 425 for 15 min then you reduce the temp to 350 and bake for another 40-50 min. It was done exactly on time.

Martha’s pie bakes at 325. The recipe says 50-55 minutes. WRONG! That pie was not done for a good hour and a half, and that was only after I got annoyed and cranked the temp to 350!

Martha's pie


Both pies looked good. Martha’s was a little taller than mine.

I made the family do a taste test. The results were split. I loved Martha’s crust. Yes, it was a giant pain to make it, but it tasted terrific. I would make it again. I liked my filling better. It had a stronger flavor and tasted more like pumpkin to me. So in the future I would make her crust with my filling.

Mine- left, Martha- right

Mine- left, Martha- right

The rest of the family was split also. Mini-Martha liked my pie. Teen daughter liked Martha. Mr. MarthaAndMe liked both.

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