Christmas isn’t just cookies and cakes. Pies shine for the holiday as well – from the seasonal to the sweet to the liquored up. Here are two favorites: Atlantic Beach Pie as interpreted by Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith in Chapel Hill, and Chocolate Chess Pie from the Angus Barn in Raleigh.
And if you’re looking for more holiday dessert inspiration, we have three years’ worth of winning recipes from our annual Holiday Treat Recipe Contest plus many more on our Recipe site: nando.com/therecipe.
Here are a few more of our favorites:
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Bill Smith’s Atlantic Beach Pie
Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith’s take on a coastal Carolina favorite pie. When we ran it in August 2014, it generated both raves and rants from readers. Some loved the combination of salt and sweet, while others complained that he had changed an old favorite.
1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice, or a combination
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust, using a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press firmly into an 8-inch pie pan.
Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes, or until the crust is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool while you make the filling. (It doesn’t need to be completely cool or cold.)
Place the sweetened condensed milk in a mixer and beat in the egg yolks, then the lemon juice. Beat well, until completely combined. Pour into the saltine crust and return to the oven. Bake for 16 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from oven and cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled. Whip cream and spread over the pie. (If you’re going to keep the pie around for a couple of days, wait until serving to top it, or keep the whipped cream separately and use it as a garnish.) Sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Yield: 1 pie
Angus Barn’s Chocolate Chess Pie
The pie is such a popular chocolate dessert at the Angus Barn that the North Raleigh restaurant makes 600 pies a week. Owner Van Eure assures home cooks that this dish is easy to make but they also sell it at the restaurant’s country store.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 (1-ounce) squares Baker’s semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 unbaked pie shell
Whipped cream for topping, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and chocolate in the top half of a double boiler. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Add melted chocolate mixture and mix until well-combined. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool and top with whipped cream, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings.