Thursday, September 16, 2010

Harold and the Purple Crayon - Chocolate Pie

"But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best" - Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson

Well hi there. Long time no blog, right? I have no excuse, other than a combination of laziness/busyness. In the weeks between my older son beginning school and my younger son finally starting (he's doing kindergarten at a private school) things were kind of chaotic. It was a combination of wanting to spend some one on one time with my youngest before he headed off to full-day kindergarten, dealing with some health issues, helping my second grader adjust to the new school year, school meetings and general blogging apathy.  I needed a break. My youngest started school last week, just in time for a weekend of house guests. I am finally getting it together again and dipping my toe back into the Kidlitosphere.

This doesn't mean that we weren't spending a lot of time reading and visiting our library and the bookstore. One of the things that we enjoyed during my blogging hiatus was the Crockett Johnson classic Harold and the Purple Crayon. My younger son picked it out on a recent trip to the bookstore and he is now hooked on the Harold series. My older son enjoys them too but it's the little one who carries his books around with him and asks to read them multiple times a day. He had the book mostly memorized on the second evening it was in our home.

I remember checking Harold and the Purple Crayon out from the library as a child and I find it just as enchanting now as I did then. Harold is an imaginative little boy who uses his purple crayon to create entire worlds for himself. One night, Harold decides to take a walk in the moonlight, so he draws a moon . . . and a sidewalk . . . and eventually a forest, the ocean, a city . . . until he finds his way back home to his own bed. It's all very cleverly done, with a subtle sense of humor and a lot of whimsy. Other than the brown outline of Harold, the only colors in the book are the white background and the purple outline of Harold's drawings. I love the purple and the brown, I love Harold's pointy turned up nose, I love that Johnson uses turns of phrase like "a hungry moose and a deserving porcupine."

The moose and porcupine in question are the recipients of the pie feast Harold has to abandon as he travels on his way. Nine kinds of pie. Maybe someday we'll make all nine kinds of pie; that would make an interesting ongoing feature on this blog, wouldn't it? But today we only made one kind of pie. Since the book did not specify "all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best" I had to take some liberties and assume that one of those kinds of pie would be chocolate. Who doesn't like chocolate pie, right?

Chocolate Pie

  • 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (we used gluten-free K-Toos)
  • 2 ounces melted butter
  • 1 (large) package chocolate instant pudding

This is a gluten-free version of a simple dessert my mother-in-law makes. If you don't have to worry about the gluten thing then it's even simpler, as you can buy a premade Oreo cookie crust. But we are gluten-free so we make our crust. The cookies are available at Whole Foods, some Targets (ours has a newly expanded grocery section) and I used one package but my crust was a little small--I recommend using a package and a half.

1. Carefully twist the cookies apart and scrape the creme filling out using a knife. Set the filling aside, eat it as you go, whatever. It's of no importance to this recipe.

2. Place the cookies in a plastic zip-top bag and smash the heck out of them with a rolling pin. Or grind in a food processor. My boys wanted to go the rolling pin route:

3. While the boys were mashing the cookies I prepared the pudding according to the directions on the box. I used the instructions for pie filling.

4. Place cookie crumbs in small bowl and add the melted butter:

5. Use a fork to blend the cookies with the butter. You'll have a crumbly, slightly dry mixture:

6. Press cookie crumbs into pie pan. As you can see, my crust doesn't quite go all the way up the sides of the pan. This is why I recommend using one and a half packages of cookies.

7. With a spatula, scrape the pudding into the pie crust. Let set in fridge for several hours before serving.

This turned out really well. The only thing I would do differently is spray the bottom of the pie plate with  a little more non-stick spray. I used a little but the crust still stuck a bit. As far as the flavor goes, I had a hard time telling I had used gluten-free sandwich cookies in place of Oreos. It had a rich chocolatey flavor and none of the "grit" that some gluten-free cookies tend to have. This was a winner. Now that I know how easy it is to make the gluten-free cookie crust I'll have to experiment with other types of pie.

Other Harold books we have enjoyed these past two weeks: Harold at the North PoleHarold's Trip to the Sky (I LOVE the section with purple line drawings on the dark brown background) and A Picture for Harold's Room (this last one being an easy reader my older son read last year).

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Deborah Graff said...


The "nine kinds of pie" is my girls' favorite page in that book.

Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

Ah, Harold is a big hit in our household, too (both the books and the show). And the "nine kinds of pie"? Well, that's an especially fun story.

That chocolate pie looks delish, by the way.

Zoe @ Playing by the book said...

Looks like a very delicious pie!