Other people’s recipes: Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie

I was nearly ready to write this pie off as a complete failure, for reasons I’ll detail below, but I put it in the refrigerator overnight and brought it into work, and my co-workers loved it — they practically gobbled it up. I was worried I was going to be sending out an email to the vultures list just to bring my pie plate home, but there wasn’t even any to share with the less-immediate co-workers who I would normally have offered first dibs. From this you can conclude that either my co-workers are remarkably uncritical when it comes to FREE PIE (which is certainly possible), or perhaps it didn’t turn out quite as poorly as I thought.

The recipe was another one from Emily and Melissa Elsen’s Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, called “Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie”. They use the phrase “black bottom” to refer to any pie that has a layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom, which seems clear enough, but “oatmeal pie” was an entirely new concept to me. The Elsens explain in their intro that oatmeal pie comes from the same family of pies as other gelled-syrup pies like pecan pie, and was popular in the days of yore because oats were a lot cheaper than pecans. They describe their version of this pie as reminiscent of an oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie. It starts, like so many of their pies do, with a partially blind-baked crust, and they recommend their standard “All Butter Crust” in a standard nine-inch pie plate:
Partially baked pie shell

I baked this off the night before and kept it wrapped in plastic in the fridge until I was ready for it. The filling starts with a cup and a half of rolled oats, toasted for several minutes on a sheet pan in the oven:
Toasted rolled oats
I have to say that the oats didn’t look much different coming out from how they looked going in. While the oats cool, a ganache is made from hot cream and chocolate (I used Valrhona Guanaja feves, since the Elsens recommend a 70% chocolate, and local non-UHT cream from High Lawn Farm). I didn’t heat the cream quite enough (I cheated and used the microwave), so not all of the feves completely melted, but I forged ahead and applied the chocolate mixture to the prepared pastry anyway:
Chocolate ganache layer

The filling is made just like a pecan pie, with butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, and spices, but instead of pecans, the now cool toasted oats. While preparing the filling, the ganache layer in the shell is solidified in the freezer, so that it will stay on the bottom when the filling is added:
Filled, unbaked pie

After baking for the recommended 55 minutes, I took the pie out, and the oats — which had all floated to the top — formed an apparently solid layer, making it difficult to see what was going on underneath. I let the pie cool on a rack for a few hours (during which time the filling is also supposed to finish cooking):
Finished pie, after cooling

However, when I cut into the cooled pie, the filling was a soupy mess:
Pie minus one slice, with pool of uncongealed filling

Evidently it could have used five to ten minutes longer baking time — too bad I was not able to tell that when I took it out! I still ate the slice, although it fell apart when I tried to remove it:
Slice of fresh pie

I posted a somewhat snarky tweet and stuck the remaining pie in the refrigerator, hoping the cool temperatures would help the filling congeal. It didn’t seem to concern my co-workers in the least:


No pie of this type is going to be all that great on the nutritional scale. In order for it not to be completely scary, I cut the pie into ten slices.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/10 pie
Servings per container: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 505 Calories from fat 216
% Daily Value
Total Fat 24g 37%
 Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 113mg 38%
Sodium 216mg 9%
Potassium 151mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 22%
 Dietary fiber 3g 11%
 Sugars 30g
Proteins 7g 13%
Vitamin A 13%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 3%
Iron 12%
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2 Responses to Other people’s recipes: Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie

  1. mpearrow says:

    Viscosity be damned; it was delicious.

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