For many of us, the holidays mean the return of special foods, those favorite family dishes that hold special meaning. They’re the once-a-year treats that help tie families together and offer reminders of those who came before. Without these dishes on the holiday table, the season just wouldn’t be the same.

We asked our readers to share some of their favorite holiday treats. They replied with recipes that would bring grace to any holiday table. We thought you might want the main course — whether it’s turkey, ham, lamb, beef or goose — to represent your family’s tradition, so here’s another dish you can use to expand your holiday table and to incorporate some of the traditions of your neighbors.

Riverwood International Charter School chocolate pie

Submitted by Elissa Oliver, chef for Riverwood International Charter School’s culinary arts program.

Elissa Oliver, chef at Riverwood International Charter School’s culinary arts program.

Elissa Oliver, who grew up in the Mississippi Delta, joined the Riverwood faculty four years ago and began the program to make holiday pies as a fundraiser three years ago. About 190 students in the culinary arts program contribute to the pie baking, she said. Here’s the recipe for chocolate pie, one of several kinds of pie the students bake for the annual pie sales.

1 ½ cups white fine sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 5-ounce can of evaporated milk

¼ cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix sugar and cocoa powder together. Beat eggs then add the cocoa mixture. Beat in the milk, butter, and vanilla.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or until set. Let cool before slicing.

Pie dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons ice water, plus 2 more, if needed

In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overprocess.

Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Before baking, unwrap dough; place on a large piece of floured waxed paper.

Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Using paper, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin (discarding paper); carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate.

Trim overhang to 1 inch; fold overhang under itself. Pinch between thumb and forefinger to make a uniform edge around the rim. Crimp edge; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Cook’s Note: Always start with chilled dough and a well-floured work surface. Chilled dough does not soften as quickly as warmer dough; flour absorbs any moisture and prevents sticking.

Riverwood’s chocolate pie.

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