When my dear husband found out that I was using leftover Easter candy to make something called Snickers pie for tonight's baking session, he asked "Isn't that a bit Sandra Lee"? (For those who haven't heard of Sandra Lee ["SL"], she has a show on the Food Network called "Semi-Homemade Cooking" although I think they use the word "homemade" loosely.) So to someone like me who actually cooks and bakes from scratch, this could be quite insulting. But my husband's comment was mere observation and I took no offense. In fact, with a name like Snickers pie, I could imagine SL mixing together chopped Snickers candy bars, a tub of Cool Whip, a few cups of instant chocolate pudding, plopping the mixture into a store bought frozen pie crust, drizzling some chocolate liquor over it and calling it a Snickers pie. I mean, the lady does have a tendency to use a lot of candy and booze during the show, don't you think?
Yes, it's true that the pie I baked actually has pieces of Snickers candy bars embedded in it, but that's where the resemblance to anything SL does ends. This Snickers pie has a crust, a fudge layer, a Snickers layer, a cheesecake layer and chocolate topping layer. But is my pie any more homemade than the imaginary SL pie I described? I'd like to think so. But then again, I didn't actually make my own graham crackers although I did crush the crackers with my rolling pin, mixed the crumbs with sugar and butter, pressed them into a pan and baked it. I'm not a dairy farmer so I didn't make my own cream cheese or churn my own butter. I don't have my own hens to provide fresh eggs. But I did make a fudge layer from chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar and a cheesecake layer from cream cheese, eggs and sugar. At what point can something be labeled homemade? Maybe the best I can say is that my pie is less not homemade than something coming out of SL's kitchen.
Well, whether you call it homemade, semi-homemade or not homemade at all, this pie was good. A bit over-the-top but good. Although the pie was too sweet for me, all those layers did result in a very rich and complex pie. The Snickers melted a bit blurring the lines between the fudge layer and the creamy cheesecake layer. The recipe yields 12-16 servings, but I suggest cutting the pie slices even smaller. I cut my 9-inch pie into 20 slices. The slices were thin enough to pick up and eat without a fork and plate.
(adapted from Mimi Silbert's recipe found in the SF Chronicle)
(makes one 9-inch pie; approximately 12 to 16 servings)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 ounces (1 stick/ 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces (1 stick/ 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces of Snickers candy bars, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
(I weighed the Snickers without wrappers)
Cream Cheese Layer
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
(I used a different chocolate glaze recipe to top my pie but I didn't like it my topping recipe. I included the original glaze recipe instead of the one I used. So if you make the pie, your topping might look different from what is shown in my photos.)
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie pan.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add melted butter, stirring until well incorporated. Press mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes, until crust is set. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees.
For the fudge layer:
Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in the top of a double boiler; set over simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove top insert and cool slightly.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside dry ingredients.
Using an electric mixer, beat together sugar, egg and egg yolk in a large bowl for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into crust.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist batter still attached. If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.
Transfer pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Evenly arrange Snickers bars over the top.
For the cream cheese layer:
Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add egg, egg white and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully spread mixture over the Snickers bars. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cream cheese is set. Transfer to a rack to cool.
For the glaze:
Combine chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and stir until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Spread or drizzle decoratively over the pie.
Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold. The pie may be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Cover loosely with foil and keep refrigerated.