Fudge pie from a toaster oven


My kitchen is finished at last.  The sink is in and the stove works.  I’m in heaven.

A month isn’t that long to be without a kitchen in the world of home remodeling, I know, but I felt the deprivation sorely.  Mostly, I missed my oven.    It was easy enough to boil, steam, saute and grill on the camp stove and grill, but baking was out of the question.

Or so I thought for several weeks.  Then I remembered the wonderfully easy, fudgy brownie recipe that I stumbled across in journalist Linda Ellerbee’s memoir, “Take Big Bites,” a few years ago.  A microwave and a toaster oven were all I needed to get my home-baked chocolate fix.

I think of this recipe as a 21st century cousin to the fudge Vassar students stirred up over spirit lamps in their rooms more than 100 years ago.  It’s simple, takes only a few ingredients and is truly addictive.  It would work just as well for a hungry college student making do in a dorm as it did for this frustrated baker operating without a real oven.

Ellerbee calls the  brownie “Mama’s Rescued Fudge Pie” because she thought her mother’s recipe was lost forever until a friend produced a copy of the original years later.  She uses Baker’s unsweetened chocolate and that will work fine if you’re on a budget.  But I had received a treasure trove of Valrhona chocolate to try out so I substituted 68 percent cacao “Le Noir” for the unsweetened and cut the sugar a bit.  A homey treat was transformed into a memorable dessert with impressive chocolate flavor.

fudgepie2The pie was so good in fact that I baked another a few days later to take to a pot luck.  This time I added 1 more tablespoon of flour to firm the texture a little.  It was a hit with old-fashioned vanilla ice cream from Maryanne’s, a popular Santa Cruz ice cream maker.

Baking in a toaster oven does present challenges.  First, the oven needs to be big enough to hold a pie pan although you could divide the batter into smaller pans and bake in batches.  Just keep the layers fairly thin so they bake quickly.

You also have to watch the pie carefully as it bakes.  Even though I’ve reduced the baking temperature to 375 degrees, the pie is likely to cook more quickly because the heating element is so close to the pan in the small oven.  I found mine was done at least 5 minutes earlier than the recipe called for and one got a little too dark on top when my attention faltered. (I just sprinkled a little shaved chocolate on top, let it melt, and spread it around like icing.)

If you want fewer dishes to wash, you can melt the butter and chocolate and mix the batter right in the Pyrex pie plate you bake it in, as Ellerbee suggests.  I’ve found I get better results if I mix the batter in a separate container and pour it into a pan that has been lightly buttered.  It looks nicer and comes out of the pan more easily.

That’s not an issue, though, if you find yourself eating this pie warm, straight out of the pan. The aroma is that tempting.  The flavor is even better.

Serves 8
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (see Note)
1 stick (½ cup) butter, plus more for pan
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chocolate and butter in a 4-cup Pyrex measure or microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high heat for 1 minute, stir, and heat for 30 seconds more. Let sit for a minute or so and stir until chocolate dissolves completely. Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour into lightly buttered 9-inch pie pan.

Bake for 25 minutes (20 minutes or less in a toaster oven). Let cool for as long as you can wait. If you can’t wait, vanilla ice cream helps cool a slice of pie on your plate.

Note: If you prefer to use unsweetened chocolate, as Ellerbee does, you should increase the sugar to 1 cup and reduce the flour to ¼ cup.

Adapted from ”Take Big Bites” by Linda Ellerbee (Berkeley, 2005)

If you’re wondering how the kitchen turned out, here it is:


10 thoughts on “Fudge pie from a toaster oven”

  1. This recipe will probably make me break my vow not to bake anything for a month! And congratulations on getting your kitchen back. It looks great.

  2. I made this so many times last year my family asked me to stop. Come to think of it … I am being asked to bake something for a teacher lunch on Wednesday. Rescue me again.

  3. At the urging of my partner, I bought my first toaster oven this summer, at age 65. My partner says he doesn’t know how I made it through college without a toaster oven. I remind him that I didn’t make it through college — and that when I was still calling myself a student I’d never heard of a toaster oven, and that he is eight years younger. I have been playing with my new toaster oven, discovering what she can and cannot do, but it never occurred to me to use her (no, I do not know why I’m referring to an oven as “she.”) for baking a fudge pie. I feel as if I’d been given a belated birthday gift.

    So much for the toaster oven issue. Now for the recipe.

    I love it when people play with this recipe. Any recipe. Now I shall try the fudge pie your way, even if I can hear my mama somewhere off-camera shouting, “You’re gonna use WHAT the hell kind of chocolate, Linda Jane???”

    However, having said I’m no purist I must confess that if I were i a position to do so, I would never eat my mama’s fudge pie with any ice cream other than Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, as any sane person (or, in the absence of a sane person, a Texan will do) will tell you, no other ice cream is acceptable. Alas, they do not sell it in NYC, where I live these days. And, yes, I can get it online, if I want to pay $100 for four half- gallons. which, it turns out, I occasionally do. But that’s another blog, probably.

    Thanks for enjoying a little piece of my mama…and my past. And for passing it on.

    Linda Ellerbee

  4. It was my pleasure, Linda. This recipe has always been a hit and I love the story behind it. I’m glad you don’t mind me fiddling with it. Since I discovered good chocolate, Baker’s has languished in the back of the cupboard.

  5. I’m sending this recipe to my daughter in Madison, WI. She shares our universal weakness for chocolate. And she loves to cook. Thanks for all your good work!

  6. That recipe sounds sinfully delicious. It’s great that so many things can be done in a toaster oven. I can’t wait to have some or maybe all of it.

  7. Wow, this looks simply delicious. I can’t wait to try the recipe out. I’m going to print it out right now and hopefully surprise my hubby with it on the weekend, hehe.

Comments are closed.