Monday, June 04, 2007

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Homemade Crust

Alice Medrich's Chocolate Pecan Pie

I like chocolate pecan pie! Or is it Kentucky Bourbon pie? Speaking strictly from a non-trained know-nothing amateur baker, I believe this pie would almost qualify as Kentucky Bourbon Pie, and it would taste even better eaten on a warm Spring day with a big hat on and a mint julep in the other hand.

Homemade Crust

I must admit that I didn't eat a bite of this pie. I daresay it was fabulous, however, from how quickly it was devoured and by how incredible it smelled. And yes, it's been quite awhile since I came visiting around these parts, but I've been eating ... well, not baked goods and 20 pounds, whoosh, are gone just like that! Luckily, I love to bake because it gets my creative juices flowing, and as long as I'm not starving or depriving myself of chocolate - individual Dove dark chocolates are my greatest friend these days - then I don't feel like I'm missing out. Even such things as this pie, sitting on my counter cooling, with its toasted pecans, gooey chocolate filling and sugared stars on top.

Decorate!

My heroine with this recipe was Alice Medrich. Her cookbook, A Year in Chocolate, is wonderful. The photographs are lovely, and I've never struggled or felt like a failure with one of her recipes. This pie also marked my first true attempt at baking a homemade pie crust, and although they're a bit more time-consuming they're also very satisfying. And let's be honest - I love crimping the edges into a perfect pattern and using my cookie cutters for something other than sugar cookies.

Crust - n - Pecans

Just look at it. Can you smell it? Don't you want to stick your finger in and lick off the chocolate goo? Or maybe sneak a pecan off the top? I admit it. I wanted to, too, but I didn't, because if I do I'll have to be rolled down the aisle at my sister's wedding in September. And none of us wants to see that. But you probably do want to see more desserts like this chocolate pecan pie on your table.

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Homemade Crust
Adapted from Alice Medrich
Makes one pie
Printer-friendly version

Crust
1.5 cups all purpose flour, chilled if you have time to plan ahead
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
4 tablespoons ice-cold water, plus more as needed

Chocolate Filling
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
2 cups pecans, toasted

Directions
1. To make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold pieces of butter until they resemble peas. If butter begins to melt put bowl in refrigerator to allow it to chill before continuing. Pour four tablespoons of water over mixture. Fold and press flour to distribute water and create a dough. If it seems too dry, add one tablespoon of cold water at a time just until dough comes together. Press dough into a disk, wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand about 10 minutes, or until it is pliable. On a floured surface, roll disk into 1/8-inch-thick circle. Fold circle into quarters and transfer it to pie plate. Trim it within an inch of the rim, then turn excess dough under and crimp the edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place rack in center position.
4. Remove crust from oven, and prick all over bottom with a fork. Line entire crust with foil, to protect crust from over-browning, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 20 minutes, then remove from oven, remove foil, and bake about 10 minutes more or until bottom is golden. Set aside to make filling.
5. In a double boiler, combine chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add brown sugar, bourbon, salt and vanilla. Stir well. Add eggs, stirring until all ingredients are blended and hot. Remove from heat.
6. Put pecans in crust. Pour hot filling over nuts. Place pie plate on cookie sheet to catch drips, then bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until filling is cracked and browned in some spots. A cake tester will not come out clean because the filling is meant to be gooey. If crust browns too quickly while pie bakes cover it with protector or pieces of foil. Cool pie on rack, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Other links:
* An interview with Alice (and a few more recipes) at Sally's Place
* The history of Kentucky Bourbon Pie