Today is my next installment of the “You want pies with that?” challenge. I never mentioned, but my first attempt last month tied for first place! That’s why I love my internet friends–they make me feel good about myself. I tied with Mary’s Blueberry Hand Pies, an association I’m proud of since I voted for her! We won the opportunity to name the next challenge- it’s gonna be good, but you’ll have to wait and see! This month the challenge was named by someone else, and it was to create a pie starring nuts.

The nut that fills some great memories of mine is the hazelnut. Beginning with when my family lived in Germany and we discovered the delicious hazelnut and cocoa spread called Nutella. This began my love for hazelnuts. When I returned to study abroad in Vienna I enjoyed the locally produced Manner Schnitten– waffle wafers filled with hazelnut creme. But my favorite thing to do was walk down Kartner Strasse in the afternoon following classes and treat myself to creamy hazelnut ice cream cone.

“Ein Kugel Haselnuss, bitter.” I’d say and pay me 2 Euros.

So picking my nut of choice for this challenge was–really–a simple task. I searched around a bit and in the end, came up with a pie that is a bit of this, a bit of that, but altogether delicious.

Going with the classic hazelnut pairing with chocolate, here is my:

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie
–A chocolate pie in a hazelnut-graham cracker pie crust, topped with hazelnut-coca whipped cream and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts–

Crust recipe:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I put the “kitchen elves” in charge of that one)
1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tbl butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients, stir in the butter, and press into pie plate. Bake at 350* for seven minutes.

Chocolate cream filling recipe:
2 ounces/squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup Sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbls butter
2 tsp vanilla

Begin by finely chopping or grating 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate. This means two whole individually wrapped squares, not just square segments. Place this in a small saucepan and pour 1 1/2 cups milk over it. Heat slowly to scald milk and melt chocolate.

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of cold milk and mix to combine. Pour in the melted chocolate and scalded milk. Bring quickly to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for three minutes.

Temper the egg yolks adding small spoonfuls of the hot liquid to the yolks while stirring quickly. When you’ve at least doubled the volume of the egg yolk mixture add back into the saucepan. Cook for three minutes. Stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla and allow to cool to lukewarm. Spoon filling into pie crust and place in refrigerator to cool completely.

Whipped cream recipe:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 heaping tablespoon “Nutella” hazelnut-cocoa spread

Beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, add the Nutella for sweetness and flavor and beat until stiff peaks form.

Spoon cream on top of pie filling, sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and garnish with a piece of hazelnut chocolate.