Chocolate Facts
Chocolate is best kept in a dry place at around 68 Fahrenheit (20 Celcius). Stored properly, chocolate has a shelf life of at least a year. Don't freeze chocolate as it will bloom upon defrosting.

Individual Chocolate Nut Pies
by Jacques Pepin, author of Jacques Pepin's Kitchen
Photograph by Tim Turner

The filling for this rich dessert is primarily a mixture of bittersweet chocolate, corn syrup, eggs, and mixed nuts. Baked in a classic graham cracker crust that has been molded into individuals ramekins, it is easy to serve and quite delicious. The dessert can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated, but should be rewarmed in a low-temperature oven to bring it back to room temperature for serving
Crust:

5 graham crackers (3-1/2 ounces)
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar

Filling

2/3 cup mixed nuts (pecans, almonds, and pignola nuts, with the pignola nuts reserved in a separate bowl)
2-1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Copyright Tim Turner
  1. For the crust: Place the graham crackers, 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, canola oil, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 1 minute, until the mixture is finely chopped, mealy, and starting to come together.
  2. Divide the graham cracker mixture among 4 ramekins, each with a capacity of 1 cup, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom and around the sides of each cup to create a shell. Note: Although these desserts usually slide easily from their molds when cooled briefly after baking, lining your ramekins first with aluminum foil will eliminate any concerns about the crusts breaking when the desserts are unmolded.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. For the filling: Place the pecans and almonds in the bowl of a food processor, and process them for a few seconds to chop them coarsely. Stir in the pignola nuts, and divide the nuts among the graham cracker-lined ramekins.
  5. Melt the chocolate and the 2 teaspoons butter in a microwave oven or in the top of a double boiler set over hot water. Add the cornstarch, mix well, then add the corn syrup, and mix well. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Divide the mixture among the 4 ramekins.
  6. Arrange the ramekins on a tray, and bake the pies in the middle of the preheated 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling is set but still somewhat soft in the middle. Cool the ramekins to lukewarm or room temperature on a rack.
  7. At serving time, invert each of the ramekins onto a dessert plate, and, if using aluminum foil, gently peel it off the crusts. Carefully turn the ramekins right side up, and return them to the plate. Serve at room temperature.

Total time: about 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition per serving: 556 calories, 8g protein, 33g fat, 11g saturated fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 289mg sodium, 64g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber
Copyright: Jacques Pepin's Kitchen - buy the book

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