This post was created in partnership with MacKenzie-Childs. All opinions are our own.
What’s the saying? If at first you don’t succeed, pie pie again? That is exactly what happened to us this past week with this deliciously dramatic dessert, because our first two attempts were far from pie-fect. We knew the filling had to be irresistibly creamy, and were determined to do as many tests as needed to achieve the perfect balance of chocolate and coffee. It was lucky test number three which nearly brought tears to our eyes as we tried this chocolatey checkered masterpiece. The texture was smooth and silky with three kinds of chocolate and a heaping spoonful of coffee, topped with a striking black and white courtly check lattice crust… let us introduce you to the chocolate check mocha pie!
In May we toured the colorful MacKenzie-Childs headquarters in Aurora, New York. We were enamored by the creative artistry that went into making their handmade products, and as soon as we returned home, we created a special cocktail inspired by our visit. We were honored that they included a photo and recipe of the drink in their Fall catalog, and so happy that people all around the world are now seeing it. Recently, Ryan came up with the idea to make a courtly check lattice crust, and when we saw how beautifully it turned out we couldn’t wait to share it with you. The stunning jet-black color comes from activated charcoal, the perfect ingredient for this recipe since it is completely flavorless. The velvety filling is rich and chocolatey with hints of coffee, and the monochromatic crust is ready to steal the show at this year’s holidays parties.
This pie is easier to make than it looks. And to demonstrate, we will be taking over the MacKenzie-Childs Instagram on Friday to show you exactly how to prepare it on their Stories. We’ll be posting photos and videos there throughout the day, so definitely come on over and say hello! Plus, Friday’s a busy day for us—we’ll be hosting our weekly live show on our Instagram account at 12pm PST, then baking pie for the rest of the day. Start your weekend off with your favorite Husbands and we’ll be sure to save a slice just for you.
Shop the page:
• Courtly Check Enamel Pie Plate
• Courtly Check Cotton Napkin
• Courtly Check Bent Pie Server
• Taylor Fluted Luncheon Plate – Forest Home
• Courtly Check Paper Napkins – Cocktail – Gold
• Taylor Fluted Cake Stand – Odd Fellows
• Check Flatware – 5-piece Place Setting
Chocolate Check Mocha Pie
makes one 9-inch pie
For the white crust:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (225g) all-purpose flour, plus more to dust the counter
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled in the fridge
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
For the black crust:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon activated charcoal powder (see note), plus more to dust the counter
4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled in the fridge
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
For the chocolate mocha filling:
4 ounces (113g, about 2/3 cup) semi-sweet chocolate (50 to 60% cacao), chopped
4 ounces (113g, about 2/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate (60 to 75% cacao), chopped
4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1 cup (198g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (158ml) evaporated milk
To make the white crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes, and use a pastry blender to work the butter into the flour until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Add ice water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the mixture barely holds together. It should still look somewhat dry and crumbly with pockets of butter, but will stay together when gathered into a ball. Use a sharp knife to cut off about 1/3 of the ball, making one small and one larger ball of dough. Press each ball into a disc shape, wrap individually in plastic, and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
To make the black crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and charcoal powder. Add the chilled butter cubes, and use a pastry blender to work the butter into the flour until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Add ice water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the mixture barely holds together. It should still look somewhat dry and crumbly with pockets of butter, but will stay together when gathered into a ball. Press the ball into a disc shape, wrap tightly in plastic, and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
To make the chocolate mocha filling:
Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water, and place a heatproof bowl on top so the bottom of the bowl sits above the water without touching. Set over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Place the chopped semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate, butter, and coffee crystals in the bowl, then stir until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and let cool while you prepare the rest of the filling.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and cocoa until blended. Add the vanilla, eggs, and evaporated milk, and whisk until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture, and whisk until blended and creamy. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
To prepare the bottom crust:
Remove the larger white crust disc from the fridge, unwrap, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it makes a rough circle about 12 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Gently fold the crust into quarters without creasing, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and unfold, then press the crust down onto the sides and bottom of the plate. Fold the overhanging dough back onto the top rim of the crust, and use your fingers to pinch and press it into an even border around the edge of the pie. The edges will covered by the lattice crust, so don’t worry about making them look perfect. Transfer the pie plate to the fridge to stay cool while you prepare the lattice.
To make the lattice:
Remove the smaller white crust disc from the fridge, unwrap, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it makes a rough circle shape about 10 to 12 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Use a ruler and a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife) to slice the dough into 1-inch wide strips—you should end up with about 10 strips. Line a flat platter or baking sheet (whichever will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Transfer the dough strips to the platter so they are touching, but not overlapping. Set aside at room temperature.
Before preparing the black crust, wipe the work surface clean of any flour (this will ensure that the black crust stays black). Instead of flour, we will dust the surface with a few pinches of activated charcoal—note that the charcoal may stain porous surfaces like wood, concrete, or stone, so be sure to use a non-porous surface like a silicone baking mat, metal, or quartz. Unwrap the black dough and place on the dusted work surface. Roll into a rough circle shape about 10 to 12 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Use a ruler and a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife) to slice the dough into 1-inch wide strips—you should end up with about 10 strips.
Set the platter of white dough strips next to the work surface, with the strips pointed toward you. Gently fold every other strip in half from top to bottom without creasing, so all the folded edges line up. Lay a black strip horizontally across the middle of the white strips, so its edge touches the folded strips. Unfold the white strips back over the black one to their original position. Now fold the opposite white strips from top to bottom, folding them over the black strip. Lay a second black strip next to the first, up against the folded white strips. Unfold the white strips back over the black one. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the pie, then repeat on the second half of the pie, creating a checkerboard effect (see photos above for a visual guide). Place a 9-inch round cake pan upside-down on the lattice, and use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of the pan, trimming and discarding any excess dough, and creating a perfect 9-inch circle of checkerboard. Transfer the platter to the freezer, and let rest until the lattice is rigid when picked up, 15 to 20 minutes.
To assemble and bake:
Remove the chilled pie plate containing the bottom crust from the fridge, and pour in the chocolate mocha filling. Set the lattice on top of the pie, pressing it down lightly around the edges. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the center no longer jiggles when the pan is shaken, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack, at least two hours, then serve and enjoy!
— Activated charcoal is available in the vitamin section of many natural food stores, and online. It is available in both capsule and powder form. If buying capsules, they can be emptied to release their powder. Charcoal has a tendency to temporarily stain your fingers, so we often use gloves when handling it, but any stains on your fingers can be washed off with soap and water.