The history of oatmeal pie is difficult to verify. Rumors assert that this pie originated during or around the Civil War, in Charleston, South Carolina, when pecans were in short supply. That would mean it is an idea that has been around since the 1860s or close to that era.
Oatmeal Pie is now considered a “poor man’s Pecan Pie”, being a less expensive alternative to high priced pecans. As with any old recipe, recipes for Oatmeal Pie vary from kitchen to kitchen. I began using a ganache in mine years ago when I saw a Pillsbury recipe that included chocolate chips in the oatmeal topping. I decided to take that a step further and modernize the idea of an Oatmeal Pie elevating it above it’s moniker, Poor Man’s Pecan Pie. The following recipe is the result of several iterations. This one is decadent and rich enough to grace any table—rich or poor.
OLD FASHIONED OATMEAL PIE, Restructured
One Homemade Basic Pie Crust, enough for a 9” glass pie plate
5 ounces dark chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
¾ cup dark corn syrup
¼ cup molasses (I like Robust)
1/3 cup light brown sugar (slightly heaping, not leveled)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 tsp. maple or almond extract or 1 Tbl. coffee liqueur)
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cup Old Fashioned Oats (do not use quick-cooking)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Make the pie crust as directed but do not bake it. Do not prick the bottom either.
Put the shaped pie crust in the refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator.
Line the bottom of the chilled pie crust with parchment paper or tinfoil.
Fill the crust with pie weights.
(Dried beans also work well for this and can be used repeatedly.)
Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Ganache: This is a traditional ganache recipe.
Finely chop the chocolate. I mean really fine. Large chunks of chocolate will not melt so please do this part properly or your ganache will be grainy and chunky instead of silky and smooth.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. This means it will bubble up and look as if it is going to overflow from the pan. Remove it from the heat and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Do not disturb the bowl for at least 2 minutes.
With a rubber spatula, carefully stir the ganache, slowly. You want to avoid stirring any air into the mixture so start at the center and slowly make circles to the outside of the bowl. Stir in this manner for at least 2 minutes. You want to stir it enough to emulsify it.
After two minutes the ganache should appear to be silky and smooth.
Pour the ganache into the chilled pie shell and return it to the refrigerator for one full hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolks. Beat in the dark corn syrup, molasses, light brown sugar, extract, spices and salt. Mix very well. Using a wooden spoon, add the oatmeal and thoroughly mix the topping. If you are using the optional ingredients listed above, mix them in now and be certain they are thoroughly incorporated.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and pour the oatmeal topping over the layer of ganache. Gently spread the topping so that it is even across the top.
Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven. The topping should be a nice golden brown and the center will be set.
Allow your pie to cool for at least 3-4 hours before slicing. This is important so that it can set properly. If you can’t wait, you will have a plate of melted chocolate and glop. I like to put it in the refrigerator after it has cooled for about 30 minutes on a wire rack on the counter. Let it get a good chill.
Before serving, remove the pie from the refrigerator and let the pie sit on a counter for 10-15 minutes and slicing should be easy. I dip the knife in hot water before slicing to keep it from dragging pieces of pie with it.