Chocolate Orange Pie with Mascarpone Cream from nothing-in-the-house

We're taking a break from incessantly posting about our Kickstarter Campaign to bring  you a salivary-gland-stimulating (non-fried) pie recipe from nothing-in-the-house, a blog by the talented and sassy Emily Hilliard, who makes and shares her fantastic pies across Washington, DC.  She's also the author of PIE: A Hand-Drawn Almanac, which is beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Graeber.  I own a copy and cherish it. 

Says Emily:

My friend Margaret and I started Nothing-in-the-House in 2005, right after we graduated college. We'd spent the whole summer picking berries and baking pies in our college town of Ann Arbor, and when I moved to Vermont that fall, Margaret suggested we start a blog to keep in touch through the pies we made. The name comes from a variety of "Nothing-in-the-House" pies, also called “desperation pies,”  that were popular during the Great Depression. They were made from a few inexpensive ingredients, or whatever you had in the cupboard.
Since 2005, the blog has evolved--though friends often contribute, I now do most of the writing and photographs. In my posts and baking, I try to bring in a little of my folklore background, incorporating historical context with personal narrative (mine and other's), celebrating both home and professional bakers and investigating this humble dessert's presence in popular and traditional culture.  

yes, please!

yes, please!

And now the recipe...

Chocolate Orange Pie with Mascarpone Cream
Adapted from Serious Eats


Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, halved
2 c. (16 oz.) whole milk
3 Tblsp. orange zest (from about 3 oranges), plus additional for garnish
13 oz. 65% chocolate, chopped
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 c. (4 oz.) mascarpone cheese
6 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 Tblsp. confectioner's sugar


For crust:

1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Using a fork, prick chilled crust all over the bottom. Line crust with parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove weights, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Let crust cool completely.

For filling:

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk milk and orange zest. Place pan over medium heat and bring milk just to a boil, then remove from heat and let sit about 20 minutes. Pour the milk mixture through a sieve and  return milk to the cleaned saucepan. 

2. Combine the chopped chocolate and salt in a large heat-proof bowl. Bring milk just to a boil and pour over the chocolate mixture, letting it sit, covered, for 2 minutes, then stirring until chocolate is melted. 

3. Return mixture back to the saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously for about 8 minutes (make sure to keep stirring so chocolate does not burn on the bottom of the pan). The mixture will thicken and begin to bubble. Continue stirring until it becomes the consistency of a thick ganache. Remove from heat and pour into the pie shell. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight, if possible. When ready, the chocolate will be set up like a thick chocolate mousse.

For mascarpone cream:

1. In the bowl of a stand or hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioner's sugar together until the cream is thickened but does not yet hold soft peaks. Add the mascarpone and whip until the mixture holds medium peaks.

2. Mound the cream on the center of the pie and decorate with orange zest curls or candied orange zest, if desired. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy! And you don't even have to "whack and unwrap."