The following is the colorful story of the arrival of Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie in my family’s history; more over it marks the beginning of the hand of Providence saving me for my work as a food historian. This recipe served as the basis for numerous delightful variations, which we served in our family restaurant in Montana’s glorious Glacier National Park (see Nutty Coconut Pie, 2017/11/13, and Chocolate Mint Pie, 2019/01/10).
It all started with my need for a unique eye operation in San Francisco in 1968. As we walked these lively streets, we witnessed our nation’s struggle to discover love through the hippie movement. Every day we nurtured our hungry souls at the beloved Blum’s.
This confectionery, bakery, and restaurant began charming San Francisco in the 1950’s; it closed in the 70’s. There we devotedly indulged in its famous Coffee Toffee Pie; my strong mother bravely asked for the recipe, which they gave her. (They must have given it to many others as well, for numerous recipes of this are now available on-line.)
Over the decades through my family’s development of it, this receipt has emerged in ways that are outstanding, making its preparation simply foolproof. Among many improvements, we freeze this pie for long-term use, preferring it only partially thawed, which gives it an ice cream-like texture. Numerous other tips make this dessert a pure joy, to be made with ease.
Without any doubt, our lives have purpose, for we are created to fulfill specific works that only we are equipped to do. My calling, as a writer of food history, has taken shape over my entire life. Many times death has tried to steal this precious gift from me. My mother’s prayers, however, have covered me with the required protection, for without prayer God’s hands are tied.
My first monumental memory of our Father’s intervention was in 1967, when I incurred a near fatal concussion from a car accident. Mom’s simple faith brought me back from what spelled destruction: I was neither dead nor a vegetable, as doctors were declaring. Though I didn’t yet know Jesus personally in 1967, Mom’s steadfast heart acted as my shield and miracles occurred.
The preservation of my life was the first wonder, but another ensued. Due to the concussion, the part of my brain that controlled my oblique eye muscle was severely damaged, resulting in intense double vision.
At that time, there were only three doctors in the U.S. that could perform the needed operation, then with only a 50% chance of any correction. Thus in the spring of 1968, we were off to San Francisco, where Dr. Paul at University Hospital perfected my sight completely! As always, Mom’s prayer life brought rich dividends.
This surgeon took my eye out of my head to shorten the errant muscle, so I saw this lively city with only half my vision, as a patch covered the deep blood-red of that, where his skillful hands had been. Nevertheless, San Francisco charmed me.
Celebrate, with me, God’s good and entire provision for our lives; receive this outstanding historical receipt!
Blum’s Coffee Toffee Pie Yields: 1-10″ pie. Total prep time: 1 1/2 hr, plus 1/2 hr for cooling/ active prep time: 1 1/4 hr/ baking time: 15 min.
1 c flour (Optional: may grind 1/3 c organic hard red spring wheat berries and 1/3 c organic soft winter white wheat berries to make a total of 1 c of fresh ground flour.)
1/2 tsp salt (Himalayan, pink, or Real Salt is important for optimum health; an inexpensive fine grind Himalayan salt is available at Costco.)
3/4 c butter, softened
1/4 c brown sugar, packed down (Organic is best; available sometimes at Costco and always at Trader Joe’s.)
3/4 c walnuts, chopped fine
2 oz Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c cane sugar (Organic is ideal, best buy is at Costco, also available in a smaller quantity at Trader’s.)
2 lg eggs, at room temperature (If sensitive to raw eggs, may use pasteurized eggs for extra safety, which are available at some grocery stores.)
8 tsp instant coffee
2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar (High quality organic is available at Trader’s.)
IF grinding fresh flour, do so now.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a bowl in freezer for whipping cream (the whipping of cream is greatly facilitated when utensils are ice cold).
- Combine flour and salt; blend in a scant 1/4 c butter with a fork until mealy in texture.
- Mix in brown sugar, walnuts, and 1 oz chocolate, grated with a sharp knife (see photo); add water and vanilla; blend well.
- Butter a pie plate generously; press pie dough in pan firmly with fingers. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until light brown; begin cooling on a rack, for about 10 minutes, finish cooling in freezer.
- While crust is cooling, melt 1 oz chocolate over med/low heat, watching carefully as not to burn. Set aside and cool.
- Beat 1/2 c butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 3/4 c cane sugar, beating well with each small addition.
- Add 1 egg; mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. (The following makes this preparation foolproof. It is so important to have ingredients at room temperature; if your kitchen is either really hot or cold, this mixture may curdle. You can easily correct this: if it curdles or breaks because it is too hot, make the addition of the second egg a cold one, directly out of the refrigerator, to bring the filling back to its full volume. If the butter/sugar/egg combination is too cold and curdles, warm the chocolate a little and mix this in before adding the second egg; then, follow the directions for beating. Ideally when done, this mixture should be like fluffy whipped butter or soft whipped cream, providing ingredients are room temperature, in a moderate kitchen. In this way, you will never fail with this recipe!)
Blend in cooled chocolate and 2 tsp of coffee into whipped filling.
- Add second egg and beat for 5 minutes more.
- Wash beaters and put in freezer, for whipping cream.
- Place filling in cold pie crust; put in freezer for 30 minutes, for filling to set up.
- With ice cold bowl and beaters, beat cream until it starts to thicken. Add powdered sugar and 2 tbsp coffee; continue beating until stiff. Cover pie with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls. See photo at top of recipe.
- May eat now, or for long-term use return to freezer; when frozen, cover well with plastic wrap, to cut pieces as needed. Serve partially thawed for optimum pleasure.