April 10, 2020
Jim’s Pi Pie
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 75 minutes
“During the seven wonderful, heart-opening years I spent with my former boyfriend, Joey, we marked each birthday with a celebratory sweet,” says Queer Eye‘s culinary expert, Antoni Porowski. “One year, his father, Jim, asked me to name my dream birthday dessert. I made it up on the spot: a salty graham cracker crust covered with a layer of caramelly dulce de leche, then topped with creamy chocolate custard and a puff of golden, swirly baked meringue. A few weeks later, on my birthday, Jim and Minette, Joey’s mom, arrived with a fresh-baked rendition of that very dessert. Since my birthday is March 14 — Pi Day — we named it Jim’s Pi Pie. I ate half of it that night. It truly is the dreamiest pie ever.”
Yield: Serves 12
Plan Ahead: The filling needs to chill for 1 hour and, once the filling is added to the crust, the pie needs to chill for 6 hours.
- Heat oven to 350°F, with rack in middle. Place graham crackers in food processor. Add brown sugar, flour and salt, and pulse until fine crumbs form. With machine running, add melted butter and process just until combined.
- Transfer mixture to deep-dish 9″ pie plate (or 10″ regular), and press evenly over bottom and up sides. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Place pie plate on baking sheet and bake, rotating pan once halfway through, until crust is set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, about 15 minutes.
- In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), melt chocolates, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
- In medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt to combine well. Whisking constantly, slowly add milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to simmer and cook, still whisking constantly, until custard is thick, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Set fine-mesh sieve over bowl and strain custard into bowl. Whisk in melted chocolate, butter and vanilla until smooth. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap (to prevent skin from forming) and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Pour dulce de leche into crust, spreading evenly. Pour chocolate filling into crust. Chill pie, covered, for 6 hours, or overnight.
- Heat oven to 500°F, with rack in middle. With electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl on medium speed until frothy, about 3 minutes.
- With mixer on medium-high, slowly add sugar, then continue beating to stiff, glossy peaks, 2 to 3 more minutes.
- Decoratively swirl meringue on top of pie, being sure to spread to edges of crust to completely cover filling.
- To toast meringue, place pie on oven rack and bake, watching closely to avoid burning, until meringue is golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen butane torch.
- Cut pie into wedges and serve. This pie is best the day it’s baked, but for longer keeping, insert a few toothpicks into meringue an inch or two from edges of pie and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Adapted from Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski with Mindy Fox. Photography © 2019 by Paul Brissman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mi in Harcourt.