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March 14, 2011 / Kate

Hot Dog Pie + Hot Cocoa Pie

Special Pi Day Double Feature

If there’s a high holy day here at the SoP kitchens it’s gotta be today: Pi day (3/14, get it?). In honor of this auspicious date I’m bringing you not one, but two, awesome pies from the creative minds of my niece and nephew. Because, like all good holidays, Pi Day is all about the children.

Hot Dog Pie is brought to you by the letter W. No, not for winning, but Wyatt, my five year old nephew. Wyatt’s loves are, in true five year old fashion, simple. He loves hot dogs, he wanted them in pie. He had no idea how this would come about, but that’s what aunts are for anyway, right? I decided to do this kindergarten-style and kept it uncharacteristically easy (it’s as close as I’m coming to semi-homemade, egads). In his vision the hot dogs stand on end on top of the pie, much like the heads at Easter Island I imagine. I opted for something a little less architecturally challenging, though you’re welcome to try his version. He’ll be thrilled.

The idea for Hot Cocoa Pie came from my ten year old niece, Minnie. She likes hot cocoa in theory, as in, she likes to get you to make it, then takes two sips and walks away, so I was a bit dubious. However she insisted it would make a great pie, and by golly, she was right. We went with a cookie crust, a real cocoa based pudding filling with some ganache to simulate the chocolate sludge at the bottom of the cup, and a marshmallow top. I have to say, it did actually taste like a cup of hot cocoa (and a cookie). Very cool.

Both these pies are super tasty and perhaps will become a part of your Pi Day festivities, along with the venerated traditions of slinky races and the running of the household pets. Enjoy some most excellent Pi everyone.


Browned Butter Crust

(adapted from “French Tart Dough” by David Lebovitz)

12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F.

In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.

When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a 9” quiche or tart pan, preferably at least 2-3” deep with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.

Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 7 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Let the shell cool before filling.


1 box mac-n-cheese (we used Amy’s, but Kraft is always good)
3/4 cup whole milk
a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese (we like sharp cheddar and gouda)

Prepare the noodles according to the box directions; drain. Add milk and cheese, stir and set aside for assembly.


8 kosher (or all beef) hot dogs, cut lengthwise and in half
handful of shredded cheddar
grated parm (maybe 1/2 cup?)
prepared mac-n-cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sprinkle cheddar cheese on the bottom of the pie crust; arrange 4 of the cut hot dogs around the bottom of the cooled crust, then fill with mac-n-cheese. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan, then arrange remaining 4 hot dogs on top. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown; cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan. Serve warm.


Crushed Wafer Crust

1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter and thoroughly combine with crushed cookies and sugar in a medium bowl. Press mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of a greased 9″ pie pan. Chill the crust for an hour before baking; bake for 10 minutes until the sides are a light golden brown. Chill crust until assembly.


3 oz heavy whipping cream
3 oz semisweet chocolate

Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium/low heat until steaming, but not boiling. While cream heats, chop chocolate into small pieces (fine) and place in medium heat-proof mixing bowl. When cream is steaming, pour onto the chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined; pour into prepared pie shell and allow to cool for a couple of hours at room temperature or about one hour in the refrigerator.

Cocoa Filling

1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp rum

Combine cocoa, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually blend in milk, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until filling comes to a boil. Boil filling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; blend in butter, vanilla, and rum. Pour into baked pie crust. Carefully press plastic wrap directly onto filling; cool. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours; remove plastic wrap.

Marshmallow Meringue

1 7-ounce jar Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar

Position rack in top third of oven; set to broil. Using rubber spatula, scrape marshmallow creme into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form. Add 1/2 cup beaten egg whites to marshmallow creme and stir with rubber spatula or spoon just until incorporated to lighten (marshmallow creme is very sticky and will be difficult to blend at first, but blending will become easier as remaining whites are folded in). Spread meringue over top of cold pie, mounding slightly in center and swirling with knife to create peaks.

Bake pie just until peaks and ridges of marshmallow meringue are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand at room temperature until meringue is cool.


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