Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Recipe Review: Great Twist on traditional Pecan Pie, filling is simple and easy to make, attempt pie crust at your own risk.

Typically my sister is the baker of the family. Sure I can whip up some great Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I'm a master of the boxed cake mix (Funfetti anyone??) but she is great at making baked goods from scratch. While its not my forte, over the past few years I have cautiously been dabbling in making pies, and have gotten pretty competent at it. At first glance a pie crust recipe looks really easy. Only 4 ingredients go into it, flour, fat, salt and water, but the techniques that go into combining these elements are essential to creating a light flaky pie crust. There's lots of debate between butter and shortening crusts- shortening makes a flakier crust, but butter makes a more flavorful crust. I do a mix of half of each, but there is also butter flavored Crisco out there which would be a good option as well.

Basic Pie Crust
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 C butter
1/2 C shortening
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ice water

First things first. Everything needs to be cold. I put all the ingredients and the bowl into the freezer for at least an hour before I start working, and then I take them out one at a time as I need them. (a note on the bowl- You have to use a metal bowl, I read this a few years back when making crust, it has something to do with a chemical reaction and the ingredients or something scienc-y like that, I don't remember exactly what)

Mix the flour and salt in metal bowl. Buy a new fresh bag of flour to use. Over time flour can absorb moisture from the air and that could weigh down your crust. Also don't scoop the flour out of the bag. This will pack it and you'll get too much flour, instead spoon the flour into your mixing cups.

Next add in the butter and shortening. I use a cheese grater to grate the butter and shortening into the bowl, it makes it easier to work with when you blend. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. You want a crumbly mixture. Later when the pie bakes those lumps with melt away and create the tiny spaces between layers of dough that give pie crust its flaky texture.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the dough and quickly kneed. If the dough easily forms a ball you're done, if not add more ice water a tablespoon at a time. Its really important at this point not to overwork the dough, and also to have cold hands. (I hold a bag of whatever frozen food is in the freezer to cool my hands down) If you feel the butter and shortening melting at all at anything throughout the process, take a break, throw the bowl the freezer and let it cool for a few minutes. Wrap the dough ball in saran wrap and chill the fridge for 30 minutes.

Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough. Roll until the dough is about 4 inches larger than your pie pan. Then roll around your pin and transfer to your pie pan. Gently press into the pan, and trim edges. Horay your pie is ready to be filled!!
printable recipe

This recipe came from Cooking Light it was originally a chocolate walnut tart but I changed it up a little. Since I my pie plate is pretty deep and recipe is for a tart I ended up trimming the crust a little. I considered doubling the filling but its a pretty rich recipe already so trimming worked just fine. Whenever I'm baking something that involves chocolate I feel that it really makes a difference to use high quality chocolate. Ghirardelli is my favorite brand, they are a little more expensive then Hershey's or Nestle, but really worth it.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup pea pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees

Combine brown sugar, flour,  and salt in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in corn syrup, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook for 1 minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add butter and chocolate, stir with a whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature, stir in pecans, vanilla, and eggs.

Spoon mixture into prepared crust, bake on bottom oven rack for 33 minutes, or until set. Cool for 20 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
printable recipe

Last year for my birthday my friends at work got me these adorable little piecrust cutters from Williams-Sonoma that cut little leaf designs for your pie and I decorated the edges of the pie with them. Last year I did and entire top crust of an apple pie in tiny maple leaves. (and then promptly dropped a can of cranberry sauce onto my pie while loading up the car. Fail.)

The pie turned out great, it smelled impossibly good, and tasted delectable with vanilla ice cream. I made this one day ahead and it was great the next day. Two days later it was still good, but not great, so I would recommend not making it too far in advance.

And phew! I'm done with recapping Thanksgiving. It was a lot of food making and so I've been taking it easy on the cooking projects the past week but I think I'm about ready to try whipping something up. I've been thinking about making something spicy because I like spicy food when its cold, and its been unusually cold here, 30's and 40's in the evenings. I just got my holiday edition of Cooking Light in the mail, and there is an article about "3 Steps to a Better Brow Shape" ummm no. If I wanted that I'd subscribe to Glamour or Allure or a beauty magazine. CL redid their format about a year ago, and in general I really like it, but I'm not crazy about random stuff like this. I'm gonna rip this page out and throw it away and we are gonna pretend it didn't happen ok CL? Thanks.


  1. Love how you added the little leaves around the edges! This looks to die for!

    You dropped a can of cranberry sauce on your pie last year! LOL!! Oh no!!!

  2. @TongueTwied- dropping the cranberry sauce was such a tragedy.... it took over an hour to make the leaf crust on that pie. Smashed pie still tastes yummy though!