Hi. Apparently, I took the summer (and most of the fall) off. It wasn’t planned, I’m just letting life take me where it needs to these days. Yesterday it took me to this Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate, just in time for a Thanksgiving post.
Pecan pie is typically a very sweet pie but in this recipe, we give complexity to the flavor by adding bourbon and pure vanilla extract, using coconut sugar, which has deep caramel notes and is slightly less sweet than cane sugar, and by adding bittersweet chocolate. If you don’t have coconut sugar you can substitute white or brown, just reduce the amount as indicated in the recipe. Also, if you want more of a punch from the bourbon, go ahead and double the amount and omit the vanilla. The flavor was perfect for me though and got rave reviews from Bob who says he doesn’t even like pecan pie.
Give yourself ample start to finish time for the making/chilling of the pie dough and baking the pie, the whole process might take a few hours. It will take even longer for the pie to cool completely so it’s best made a day or two before you intend to serve it. The actual hands-on time is short and easy though, especially if you use a pre-made pie crust. That said, I highly recommend the all-butter Tender Pie Crust which is my go-to recipe.
Bourbon Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate
(makes one 9 inch pie, about 8 servings)
Pie crust for 9-inch pie, store-bought or homemade
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut sugar (substitute 1/3 cup white or brown sugar)
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped, leave about 20 halves intact for the top of the pie
1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips/chunks
Prepare your pie crust. I used the recipe for Tender Pie Crust shown here. Once you have the crust rolled out and in the pie plate, allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (It can be made a day ahead).
Before you prepare the filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (conventional setting, not convection)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, coconut sugar, and corn syrup until well combined. Add cooled melted butter, salt, salt, bourbon, and vanilla and mix well.
Chop pecans, not too finely, setting aside about 20 halves intact.
Place chopped pecans in the chilled pie crust and, using your fingers, mix in the chocolate chip/chunks.
Give the filling another good whisking then pour it over the pecans and chocolate, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
Press the remaining 20 pecan halves into the filling. You can be more decorative than I was if you’re so inclined.
Loosely cover the pie and place it on the middle rack in preheated 350 degrees F oven.
Check the pie at 60 minutes, the filling should be almost set and the crust should need more browning. Turn the oven up to 375 degrees F, remove the foil, and bake for another 20 -30 minutes.
Note: Oven temps can vary so use your discretion if you think yours runs a bit hotter or cooler and adjust times accordingly.
The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be forming a bit of a dome in the center (which will depress when you remove it from the oven) and stay stable when the pie is loosely shaken.
Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting and serving or it may not set properly. You can serve as is or garnish it with whipped cream or ice cream. If you want a less sweet topping to balance the flavors, the tartness of plain Greek yogurt is actually very nice.
I may have eaten a small slice for breakfast this morning with the yogurt. At least it was added protein.
“Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.” When Harry Met Sally… I can’t tell you how many times my poor children have heard this quote. Pretty much every time Bob and I say pepper, definitely when we say pecan pie! Gotta use Billy Crystal’s accent of course. We like to embrace the silliness in life.
Before I go, I have to say, my gratitude list is long this year, especially in light of the tragic fires in California. Yes, our house burned down last December and we lost our beloved dogs and that was truly awful. We were also extremely fortunate to have the support of our neighbors and community to help us through it. We had family and friends to take us into their homes, our business to go to, and all of our people made it out unharmed. I can’t fathom the despair of the people who have lost their homes, their town, their community, their loved ones, and their livelihood. I hope and pray that they are all finding solace in the kindness and humanity of the helpers and I hope and pray they will soon begin to see silver linings on the horizon.
Hug your people tight this Thanksgiving!