Rustic Chocolate Pie

my fitness pal can shove it

Good thing I made this last week. Goodbye, chocolate pie. Hello, My Fitness Pal. I'm tracking my calories, which is almost impossible not to do without obsessing. And feeling hungry every second of the day. Apparently, 1400 calories a day should be enough for me. It's mind-blowing to have only 400 calories left to spend on dinner after having been moderate and mindful all day long. Any tips out there for a first-time calorie-counter?

I am grateful for my body and have a good relationship with it. I've talked several times here before about exercise, healthy eating, and how it's possible to still be food-obsessed at the same time. But I'm realizing all over again is that this mindfulness business isn't something I can do for a few months and then back off. It never ends!

My Fitness Pal (I love to hate that name) tells me that exercise gives me more calories to spend. That's incentive. Big time. A two-hour walk might earn me a small piece of this pie. And I could listen to food podcasts along the way, which isn't a half-bad proposition.

I tore this recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens at the gym last week. I've stopped trying to mute the deafening shredding sound. No one around me seems to mind. They're too busy watching The Food Network. And have you noticed? Even magazines like Better Homes and Gardens often have good or interesting recipes these days. This is a case where a rising tide really does lift all boats. Our collective food consciousness has evolved even if our practice hasn't. That's a topic for another day. In the meantime, I'm wild about this concoction, and it will give Priya more uses for all that chocolate she's been buying. We won't let My Fitness Pal in on this little secret.

Rustic Chocolate Pie
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens. I considered using one of my own crust recipes, but ended up with this one. It gave me zero problems and turned out beautifully flaky and was just the right size for the amount of filling. I used Guittard 60% chocolate--don't use the super super dark stuff, as it doesn't turn out as smooth. These days, I'm into the Ghiradelli 60% chips, too. Available at almost all grocery stores, affordable, and melt easily. This really does serve 10-12 people, as you only need a small slice (And don't share any with My Fitness Pal. Though well-intentioned, she's kind of a *&*$# ).

3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4  tsp. salt
5  Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1-1/2  to 2 Tbsp. cold water
6  oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (not to exceed 62 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
2  egg whites, at room temperature
1/8  tsp. cream of tartar
1/2  tsp. vanilla extract
1/4  cup sugar
1/8  tsp. salt
3/4  cup chopped lightly toasted pecans or walnuts + more for the top
Chocolate shavings (optional)

To make crust, in bowl thoroughly mix flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut butter in chunks and add to bowl. With two knives, pastry blender, or food processor, cut butter into flour, tossing to coat with flour until largest pieces are size of pine nuts and remaining resemble coarse bread crumbs. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. cold water over flour mixture while tossing and mixing, until just moist enough to hold together when pressed. Add remaining water if needed. Turn out on plastic wrap. Gather into flank disk, pressing in any loose pieces. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If your dough has been in the fridge a long time, Let it stand 30 minutes at room temperature, or until pliable enough to roll without cracking. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 14x9-inch oval, about 1/8 inch thick, rotating and dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Brush excess flour from dough; fold in half to transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough. Unfold dough. Loosely fold and roll edge, without pressing, to form rimmed crust. Place parchment with pastry on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown (crust edge will be a little raw inside).

Meanwhile for filling, melt chocolate in microwave on 50 percent power (medium) about 2 minutes. Stir frequently until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from microwave. Stir until melted; set aside.

In bowl beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt. Beat until whites are stiff but not dry. Pour pecans and melted chocolate over whites; fold with spatula until batter is uniform color.

Remove crust from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Dollop filling on crust. Spread to 1/2 inch thick. Bake 10 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (fudgy inside). Cool on baking sheet on rack. Serve warm or cool. Cover and refrigerate after 2 hours or up to 24 hours. To serve, sprinkle toasted walnuts and chocolate shavings. Makes 10 servings.