Saturday, June 2, 2012
This is such an amazing chocolate pecan pie, and I shouldn't be surprised...it's from Alice Medrich! Don't just make it at Thanksgiving time. Pecans are always readily available, and deliciousness should be fair game anytime of year. It's not a difficult recipe, either. The filling is pretty basic, and no challenging cooking technique required. The crust only has a few ingredients and you don't need a food processor. If you want to go all out, choose extra special chocolate. The chocolate shines through in this pie, so splurging on better quality chocolate is actually worth considering here.
Make it for a dinner party, a holiday get together, or for a weekend all by yourself. Just be sure to sign up for an intense cardio class at the gym if you opt for option 3.
I'm thinking there will be more pies in my future. This was really fun to make, impressive, and absolutely beyond delicious. The flaky crust did my guests and me in! I haven't recovered from that yet.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich in Chocolate Holidays
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4-5 tablespoons water
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup (lightly packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rum, bourbon, or brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
Vanilla bean ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream
For the crust, in a mixing bowl combine the flour and salt. Cut the butter chunks into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives. Continue until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest are the size of bread crumbs. Be careful not to overmix or the butter will turn into a paste or even melt. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of water over the mixture and distribute this moisture into the dough with a rubber spatula, folding and pressing as you go, until the mixture is just wet enough to hold together. Add up to 1 tablespoon more water if necessary. Press the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap before chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 3 days before using.
When you're ready to bake the crust, remove the dough from the fridge and let stand until you can roll it out on a lightly floured work surface and it won't crack. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick, rotating the dough as you go. Fold the dough into quarters and transfer to the pie pan. Unfold the quarters and carefully press into the pan so that the dough reaches 1 inch beyond the rim of the pan. With the dough that's hanging over, tuck it under and flute or crimp the edge. Chill the crust in the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the chilled pie crust from the fridge. Press foil (shiny side down) over the crust, taking care not to wreck the crimped edges. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust all over, piercing right through the foil. Use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil liner and pie weights and return to the oven to bake for another 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
For the filling, which you should prepare while the crust is baking, combine the chocolate with the corn syrup and butter in the top of a double boiler set over a pan of barely simmering water. Or you can skip the double boiler and cook directly over the stove, but you have to be much more careful about not burning the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted and smooth, then stir in the brown sugar, salt, rum, and vanilla. Add the eggs and continue stirring until well combined and hot to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat and stir occasionally until ready to use.
When the crust is done, remove it from the oven, but leave the oven on. Scatter the toasted pecans over the bottom of the crust. Pour the hot filling over the pecans and return the pie pan to the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the filling is puffed and cracked at the edges, golden brown in spots, but still jiggles in the center if poked or shaken slightly. Unfortunately you can't use the toothpick rule here because if you insert a toothpick, it's not supposed to come out clean. There will be gooey deliciousness stuck to it. As the filling is baking, if you notice that the crust is browning too fast, cover the edges with foil. Cool the pie on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla bean ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream. Enjoy!