Creamy chocolate custard meets a layered crispy, hazelnut baklava in pie form in this exceptional pie.
This is the part of the pie that’ll have you coming back for more, and more. It’s creamy and rich, deeply chocolatey and a cinch to make. I used this recipe as a template but skip the butter and I jazz it up with some flaked sea salt to add more depth. It tastes like the best chocolate pudding ever (even when it’s warm!).
The pie filling is deadly simple, so simple you have no excuse not to make it. Essentially all the ingredients go together into a pot and you cook it until it thickens. Part of what makes this so simple is the use of sweetened condensed milk which carries all the milk and sugar we need in the pie. I use Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk here which lends a real silky quality to the chocolate cream.
A long time ago I made my father in law a baklawa cheesecake on a whim. He was in town and I was trying to impress him ;p. I did it by layering phyllo and nuts and pouring the filling in the center, then baking them together. He told me it was the best dessert he ever had and idk if that’s actually true (he’s a sweetheart) but I’m taking that to my grave.
To make this pie I employed the same concept: layering phyllo slathered with ghee (clarified butter – you can use melted butter if you can’t find it or you can clarify your own) and nuts. I chose hazelnuts because they go so well with chocolate (nutella!) but you can use pistachios or almonds or walnuts.
Typically baklawa is doused in a simple syrup: Greeks add honey to theirs, Arabs add saffron and orange blossom or rosewater. Because we aren’t slicing the phyllo until we serve, there’s nowhere for the syrup to get into and between the layers. If you would really like to use the syrup, you can make it and pour a few spoonfuls into the nut layer. It will make them a bit gummy but sweet and evoke a more traditional taste.
First, we’ll make the baklava shell. You’ll do this by layering phyllo sheets into a springform pan, brushing them with clarified butter between each shell. This is what makes the baklava crispy. The nuts will go in two batches, between sets of phyllo sheets, like this:
Then you bake it and once it’s done you’ll make the filling in a pot and pour it into the shell and voila, you have quite an impressive pie!
Because this pie is a little bit of a labor of love (that’s the shell mostly) and because the chocolate really should be the dominant part of it, I stick with a very simple vanilla bean whipped cream here. Honestly, can’t imagine anything better than whipped cream on this.
If you’re making the whipped cream use 1 cup heavy cream (very cold), 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (and a pinch of salt!). Whip them with a hand mixer until it thickens (careful not to overwhip!).
Other toppings I’d recommend would be berries, the tart taste goes really well with the chocolate and cream here.
Can I use a different nut?
Any nut that you think will go well with chocolate!
Can I make this nut free?
It won’t be baklava anymore, but you’ll have a crispy phyllo shell with a yummy chocolate filling!
What do I do if my chocolate cream is lumpy?
Pour it through a fine mesh sieve.
How do I keep phyllo sheets from tearing?
The sheets tear when they dry out. A damp towel on top of the dough sheets will keep them moist. Also, try to work fast and also, don’t stress – it’s fine if they tear!
How should I store the pie?
In the fridge, uncovered is fine.
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