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A lot has happened since April! Which is the month I fell totally behind on pie posting, once again, so – here we are, doing a bit of time traveling together. I just looked through every one of my photographs from April, remembering the little and big things we did that month. Levi and I took a two-night trip to Palm Springs sans Pippa. We did an outdoor sound bath and stayed at the Ace Hotel and lounged by the pool and ate an incredible meal which included chicken-fried oyster mushrooms, and also talked about how much we missed little P. That’s parenthood, I guess. In April, I repotted my Pilea and Monstera houseplants. Pippa was loving virtual Sunday School crafts and got her first real dental cleaning (and loved it). We were vaccinated against Covid-19 and wondered how much longer this disease would continue to cause enormous suffering around the world.

Our church’s school held their yearly Silent Auction over Facebook; typically it would have taken place as part of the annual Spring carnival, but a big in-person carnival still wasn’t really a thing at that time. I volunteered to make a pie to auction off (in part moved by the awesome pie auction I was party to earlier in the year). I spend some time mulling over which of the remaining pies in my book would appeal most deeply to my audience, and be fairly transportable/sturdy at the same time. I decided to target the chocolate lovers, and landed on Chocolate Malted Pie.

Before I show you process pics, this is the image I used to try to lure people into bidding for my pie. If Pippa were to describe this pie, she would call it Chocotastic. Would this image have worked on you?

I made this pie twice; once as a test run (in the past I’ve tended to scorn test runs but now I really like to know what I’m selling, plus I needed the above drool-inducing photos to get people to bid). Oh, and it goes without saying that I would have been disappointed to not get to taste this pie myself. As I show you the step-by-step below, I’ll be mixing photos from my first and second Chocolate Malted Pies.

First step: as you might expect for such a chocolatey pie, an “Oreo” crust is laid down, baked and cooled.

Then, here, we’ve got a filling made with heavy cream, semisweet chocolate, vanilla, and malted milk powder.

The pie contains, in addition to 1/3 cup of malted milk powder, a whopping (pun intended) 1 1/2 cups of malted milk balls. Half are crushed and pressed into the filling at this stage of the game.

Now seems like a nice time to quickly plug an online food vendor our family has been greatly enjoying lately: Nuts.com. They sell all kinds of awesome snack foods, including, but not limited to – you guessed it – a great selection of Nuts. I am personally a fan of how many organic offerings they have. Also, it’s a New Jersey based company (which you know always counts for something in my book). From Nuts.com I was able to order very high quality malted milk powder as well as malted milk balls. (They also have dark chocolate malted milk balls, the centers alone, mint cookie malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls…I mean…come on!) If you’re interested in putting an order in, (their shipping is crazy fast) some of our favorite non-dessert products are the Nori Maki Arare Rice Crackers, the Organic Strawberry Granola Bark, the ABC 123 Pasta, the Organic Dried Mango.

Continuing on…whipped cream, with some of the aforementioned chocolate filling folded into it, prepares to be heaped over the top of this quickly-getting-out-of-control creation.

Clearly, still not enough malted chocolate goodness going on here, so the pie is now garnished with whole malt balls that you’ll wonder how you’re supposed to eat daintily while shoveling in mouthfuls of pie.

I tested out the model pie with some of our good friends who had recently moved back to California after many years of living in Oregon. Pippa and I went to their new home for an overnight visit. They gave the pie their stamp of approval, and we even had an educational moment together very much related to the pie crust.

On the day we were visiting, a box of Hydrox cookies arrived on Amber’s family’s doorstep. Never heard of them? I hadn’t either. If you follow the link to the short Wikipedia article, you’ll see they look like an Oreo knock-off. HOWEVER, (important historical information here) they actually are the predecessors of Oreos, invented 113 years ago! Apparently the brother of the guy who invented the Hydrox cookie started a competing factory, making Oreos, and eventually ran Hydrox brother’s business down…really nice, right? It doesn’t get nicer. Hydrox cookies had a slight historical advantage among the Jewish community for being kosher, and Oreo/Nabisco couldn’t handle that, even though they were still by far the more popular cookie. They changed their recipe to omit lard and met a host of other expensive requirements to become kosher, so they could corner that market as well!

My friends showed us a YouTube video about this drawn-out war of the cookies – the same one they had originally watched and that had led to the order of a case (?!) of Hydrox cookies. Taste testing was done, as if we weren’t already meeting our daily chocolate intake.

Hydrox pros: Crispier cookie. Possibly would lend a nice texture to a pie crust? Non-GMO/cleaner ingredients than Oreo.

Oreo pros: Predictable taste. Better name. (It’s not just you. “Hydrox” really is meant to make you think of the words “hydrogen” and “oxygen” – apparently the original marketing team thought this would trick buyers into imagining they were eating a health food, made of pure elements. Hmmm. But it’s…still…a cookie…)

Joe-Joe’s pros: Available at Trader Joe’s. And therefore probably what I’ll mostly always use for my “Oreo” crumb crusts. Though I’ll be sure to notify you, interested readers, if it’s ever a Hydrox crumb crust you’re looking at.

Here are some photos of Amber’s kids and Pippa adorably befriending each other (i.e. the only photos I took during our visit. Another “this is parenthood” moment, I suppose.)

By the way, the pie was eventually won at auction and re-created for Amber’s brother-in-law. This is one chocotastic family!