Those summer berry and fall holiday pies may get all of the seasonal baking attention, but spring really is the ideal time to Pie It Forward, isn't it? There are those rainy weekends best left to indoor dough rolling, the partly cloudy ones that aren't quite ready for berry picking outings, and those between-seasons sort of days when you really need a slice of Yin Yang cheesecake (in matcha tea and mango form, p. 132) to pull it all together.

Or, should you be more of a tart, torte or galette weekend baker, Gesine Bullock-Prado's new cookbook has plenty of blueberry brown butter and macadamia-coconut-caramel ideas — even a few savory ones like potato sausage pie and Bavarian calzones filled with chicken, Camembert cheese, lingonberry preserves and aioli with a touch of maple syrup (!) for an added sweet kick.

Yeah, in case you're wondering, Bullock-Prado runs a lot of marathons. And yes, Sandra Bullock is her sister (A Hollywood pie diet! Now that would be fun).

Bullock-Prado rolling dough to make lobster tails; Credit: Tina Rupp

Bullock-Prado rolling dough to make lobster tails; Credit: Tina Rupp

Bullock-Prado also is the author of Sugar Baby, a book we dubbed the homemade cotton candy must-have for every home baker's inspirational sugar work reference shelves. She does a fine German apple custard tart job here as well, although there are obvious dough limitations in the pie-centric follow-up. Whether that's a good thing probably depends on how many apple pies (there are four versions here) you've made to date.

That's not to say we won't be spending the rest of our workday procrastinating by deciding which fried green tomato, sticky toffee pudding or poached pear tarts we'd like to make this weekend (Bullock-Prado offers up fantastic tutorials on the book's website). Or maybe it's going to be more of a mascarpone-key lime or strawberry-rhubarb lattice pie sort of weekend.

Oh, screw it. If we're going to have to start running marathons to keep up our sugar habit, we're starting the weekend off with a beer and a slice of this chocolate stout pudding pie.

Chocolate Stout Pudding Pie

From Pie It Forward: Pies Tarts, Tortes Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented by Gesine Bullock-Prado.

Makes 1 8-inch tart.

For the dough: Makes 2 (9-inch) crusts or 4 (4-inch) crusts

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, cold

1 cup (130 g) cornstarch

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

1 teaspoon (6 g) salt

1 1/4 cups (285 g) unsalted butter, cold

1 egg

3 tablespoons (45 ml) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the filling:

1/2 cup (40 g) cocoa powder

1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup

1 12-ounce bottle (360 ml) chocolate stout

1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch

4 egg yolks

pinch salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) heavy cream

For the assembly:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

1/4 cup (25 g) confectioners' sugar

1 bar or large piece bittersweet chocolate, at room temperature, for making chocolate curls

Make the dough:

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, condensed milk and vanilla. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture while pulsing; continue until the dough just begins to come together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead it until the dry ingredients are fully integrated and the dough holds together, being careful not to overwork it.

4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

Procedure for the crust:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8-inch (20-cm) tart pan with the dough. Dock and freeze it for 20 minutes.

2. Line the crust with parchment, fill it with pie weights or dried beans, and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and bake the crust for 15 minutes more, or until the bottom is golden brown and baked through.

Procedure for the filling:

1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, maple syrup, chocolate stout, cornstarch, egg yolks, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

2. In a large saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.

3. With the mixer running on low, carefully pour the hot cream into the cocoa mixture. Whisk until completely combined.

4. Transfer the liquid back into the saucepan and cook it over medium heat, whisking, until it thickens to a pudding.

5. Immediately pour the pudding into the prepared crust. Cover the pie with a sheet of plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is laid directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pie until it's set, at least 2 hours.


1. Clean the mixer bowl and whisk attachment and whisk the cream and confectioners' sugar until you achieve stiff peaks.

2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip with the whipped cream and decorate the top of the pie. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, shave curls from the chocolate and sprinkle them over all.

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