Ready to take a little trip this summer weekend but wary because of the "dreaded beach traffic"? One bite of this amazing Muddy Fudge Pie, a specialty of the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, will have you throwing all cares to the wind, hitting the gas and cranking up those country tunes! It's so worth the trip and so deserving of Famous Friday status. So let's virtual road trip to Music City, USA and get us some amazin' pie!!
Sadly I've never been to Nashville and I've never heard of the Loveless Cafe until a couple of weeks ago (I lead a sheltered life). This post comes directly to you courtesy of the Mamaroneck public library, where I happened to be browsing the cookbook section and Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe caught my eye. Intrigued, I pulled out the book and started reading--yes, I like reading cookbooks, I'm a sucker for a good story about food, and learned that the Loveless Cafe has a long and interesting history that's really a little piece of Americana. It was first started in 1951 when Lon and Annie Loveless began serving fried chicken and biscuits out of their home to travelers who passed by on the then only major thoroughfare between Memphis and Nashville. As they got more and more popular, serving out of their home no longer became viable and thus was born the Loveless Cafe. Apparently those biscuits (and everything else) must have been memorable, because 65 years later the cafe is still going strong! According to the book this pie is one of their biggest sellers and I can certainly see why. It's lusciously creamy and deeply chocolate--totally irresistible!
And while it may look fancy and complicated with that cloud of whipped cream and Jackson Pollack like chocolate swirls, the truth is that it's easy to make--perfect summer entertaining--not that this wouldn't be great in the cooler months. Really, no matter when you serve this, people will be fighting for the last piece!!
If you happen to be heading to Nashville, make a pit stop to the Loveless Cafe and please, let me know what you think. I am definitely going to get there one of these days! But until then I'll just have to try out some other of their amazing offerings at home like Honey Chess Pie, Mashed Potato Cake, Big Momma's Blackberry Jam Cake, Coconut Chews (these are calling out to me, be forewarned they may turn up on these pages soon) and more. Have a good weekend and make this pie if you can. I promise it'll become a new favorite!!
The Loveless Cafe's Muddy Fudge Pie-Famous Fridays
Makes about 8 servings
Prep Time for Pie Crust: 10 minutes to make pie crust, plus several hours of chilling and about 20 minutes of pre-baking; Prep Time for Filling: 15 minutes; Bake Time for Pie: 45 minutes
For Pie Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and rechilled until ready to use
- 1/4 cup frozen solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 cubes (I used Crisco)
- 3-4 tablespoons ice water (maybe more)
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1. To make the pie crust: Using a food processor, blend flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and shortening cubes and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
2. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and add 3 tablespoons of water, using a fork to mix until the dough begins to come together. Add more water by the teaspoonful if it seems too dry.
3. Gather the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit a bit to soften if it seems too cold to roll out. Meanwhile lightly flour a board or work surface, and with a lightly floured rolling pin, working from the center out, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle, lifting and rotating the dough several times to make sure it's not sticking. Then loosely roll dough around rolling pin to transfer it and very carefully position it over the pan and unroll it, gently pressing dough down into a 9 or 10 inch extra-deep pie plate. Trim overhang and crimp edges using your thumb and finger to make the indentations or any way you like. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
5. Prick crust all over with the tines of a fork and line with parchment paper. Chill for about 15 minutes. Fill the covered dough with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the parchment paper and weights. Return pie to the oven to cook for about 12-15 minutes more or until golden brown and fully cooked. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
6. To make the filling: Keep the oven at 350ºF and place the cooled pie crust on a baking sheet. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, mix together the chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup of the half-and-half. Place the bowl in the microwave. On the lowest setting or on defrost, heat it for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture lightly and repeat for another minute, just until the mixture is melted and smooth. You don't want to heat it too much, or the filling will be less creamy.
7. In a separate bowl, add the brown sugar and give it a stir to break up any clumps. One at a time, whisk in the eggs and mix until smooth. Then whisk in the corn syrup and vanilla. Slowly whisk about 1/4 of the egg mixture into the chocolate and whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.
8. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is puffy and set around the edges, but still slightly jiggly in the center. If you want a denser filling, bake for 5-10 minutes longer. The shorter way will give you a more pudding-like filling. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until completely set.
9. To make the topping: Use an electric mixer to whip the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla (if using) until soft peaks form and cover the top of the pie with the cream.
10. To make the chocolate sauce to decorate: Place the chocolate chips and remaining tablespoon of half-and-half in a microwave-safe bowl on low heat for 30-60 seconds until melted. Stir until completely smooth. Drizzle the chocolate over the pie in random patters, creating zigzags or however you like it. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.
Note: Recipe adapted from Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe by Alisa Huntsman.