Bake the Book: Malted Chess Pie

[Photograph: Tina Rupp]

In desserts, malt is rarely found without chocolate. Case in point: malt's most accessible form, the malted milk ball, is encased in a chocolate shell. Miss Kave turns tradition on its head with this chess pie from First Prize Pies, which uses barley malt syrup and malt powder to flavor the filling, and a malt-flavored whipped cream as a topping. It sounds like a lot of malt, but it's not; the result is nutty, rich, and well-balanced. And if you're really missing the chocolate, the topping does include crushed malt balls.

Tips: For tips to add a little more chocolate to this pie, see below. As it stands, it's got a lovely salty, malty flavor that needs little improvement. The trickiest part to making this pie comes in acquiring the ingredients. Those of you lucky enough to live in New York can find both barley malt syrup and malted milk powder at Kalustyan's: otherwise, barley malt syrup should be in a well-stocked baking aisle of your local supermarket or Whole Foods. Malted milk powder may be harder to come by, but check the spice or baking aisle first before looking to buy online.

Tweaks: As always, we consider a wide audience when choosing recipes for Bake the Book. Though some may be quite fond of malt, others aren't; or they may just be used to the familiar (and excellent) pairing of malt and chocolate. In that case, we suggest a chocolate cookie crust. There are many iterations of the chocolate cookie crust online (or in past Bake the Book recipes), but a quick and easy way to make one goes like this: Mix about a box of crumbled chocolate wafer cookies and 1 stick of melted butter together, adding the melted butter a little at a time, until the texture resembles wet sand. Chill it in the fridge until firm, then pop in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes. Add the filling when it's cooled, and voila: malted milk ball pie.

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of First Prize Pies to give away.

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