Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recreating The Baltimore Bomb (Chess Pie with Vanilla Fudge Cookies)

I've always enjoyed eating pies, but they've never consumed my daydreams the way cupcakes and macarons have. Perhaps its their rustic appearance and less portable/adorable packaging. Or perhaps its the added step of having to make pastry dough in advance (a pie without a homemade crust is not a pie worth making IMO). Either way, my thoughts rarely turn toward pie unless autumn's on the horizon.

Baltimore Bomb Pie
At least that's how it used to be until an unassuming slice from the aptly named Dangerously Delicious Pies (DDP) in DC blew me away at first bite. Its name was The Baltimore Bomb, and I guarantee it's like no pastry you've ever tasted. DDP created The Bomb especially for the city of Baltimore, Maryland, using their famous Berger cookies, which are equal parts vanilla cookie and chocolate fudge. The inspired twist was to suspend these decadent cookies in a traditional Southern chess filling. The fudge melts down to bestow its gooey goodness to the entire pie, while the tangy custard reigns in the richness of the chopped Berger's. I strongly encourage everyone in the DC area to experience the real deal at DDP, but I think this recipe hits pretty close to the mark and captures all the elements that make the Baltimore Bomb Pie so exceptional and addictive =D.

P.S. - Please pardon the mediocre photo! I only had 15 minutes during the workday to grab a shot in front of my office building AND it started raining as soon as I got outside. The taste was fantastic though so I wanted to make sure I had a photo for this blog post to tempt you to try the recipe (please do!).

Baltimore Bomb Pie [Printable Recipe]
Inspired by Dangerously Delicious Pies
Recipe adapted from PinupLifestyle and Ezra Pound Cake's Lemon Chess Pie
Serves 8 to 10

XIAOLU'S NOTES: Please note that most pie crust doughs need to be made at least 1 hour in advance to allow the dough to rest. The crust recipe below can be made by hand with a 2 knives, a pastry cutter, or cool fingertips. You can also easily double the crust recipe and freeze half of it (very well-wrapped) for future pastry adventures =). Although Berger cookies are uniquely delicious, other cookies like chocolate chip cookies or creme-filled sandwich cookies can be substituted for the Berger cookies at 1:1 volume. Those outside of the DC/MD area may want to try this recipe for making their own Berger cookies. I'm hoping to try it myself soon and will update this post with the results.

Dough for Pie Crust (Recipe below OR other single-crust recipe)

2 Tbsp cornmeal
1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped Berger cookies (five 2 3/4-inch cookies cut into roughly 1/2-inch squares)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove pie dough from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier.

Roll out crust dough on a lightly floured surface to a 11 to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch pie dish (I used Pyrex) by folding in half and then in half again, then centering and unfolding it over the pie dish. Make sure the dough closely lines the pie dish. Lift the dough at the edges to adjust it if necessary, but do NOT stretch it or it will shrink back when you bake it. Fold edges under and crimp, if desired. Place pan in freezer to chill for at least 20 minutes before baking.

In the meantime, you can make the filling. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the butter, milk, vinegar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add chopped cookies to filling, and let sit for about 10 minutes. 

Retrieve lined pie pan from the freezer when 20 minutes has passed. Pour the filling mixture into the chilled crust, making sure to distribute the chopped cookies evenly across the bottom. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the pie is golden brown on top, slightly puffed, and almost (but NOT entirely) set. The center should be slightly loose, but it will set as it cools. You may want to check on the pie midway through baking; if the crust is browning too quickly, you can cover the top loosely with foil for the remaining baking time. Remove to a cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.

Pie Crust Dough

Rounded 1 1/2 cups (about 6.8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbsp shortening, frozen then cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 to 5 Tbsp ice-cold water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you squeeze some of the dough in the palm of your hand and it holds together, it's ready to use. If the dough breaks apart, add a little more water and pulse again. Don't add more water than indicated or the crust will be tough. Also, the dough will absorb more flour as it rests, so it's fine if it seems slightly drier than what you'd want to roll out.

Remove dough from machine and gather in a mound on a clean surface. For extra flakiness, flatten small sections of the dough mixture against the table top with the (cooler) heel of the palm of your hand until you've flattened all of the dough once. This technique is harder to describe than it is to do, so I recommend you watch this video of the process. If flakiness is not a priority, you can simply knead the dough very gently into a 1-inch thick round disc. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.


  1. I am a huge fan of pies ... this one looks pretty decadent! Guess I might have to try it!

  2. It looks absolutely devilish and ever so tempting!



  3. So obviously I need to get my hands on some berger cookies for THAT experience alone...and then I need to make this luscious pie!

  4. I love EATING pies too! I don't make them enough sadly. This pie looks awesome!!


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