Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Really Good Pecan Pie

I realize that just seeing the words pecan pie may be causing you to shudder. To think back to the past several days and the holiday feasting that ensued. But stick with me, this pie is totally worth it. I love pecan pie. We never had it growing up. I don't know why, since it's one of my mom's favorites too. I remember when I told her I was going to attempt pecan pie for the first time, her warning me that it was tricky, so maybe that's the reason she never made it. Apparantly it can be made incorrectly, and the filling curdles and turns into something ugly. I don't know about that. My Joy of Cooking tells me it is possible to completely ruin a pecan pie, but I've never had one turn out bad.

Every year I try something just a little bit different. Last year it was a variation that included cranberries. That was good, but the cranberries were supposed to reign in the sweetness, and instead they kind of disappeared, so this year I thought we'd try a bittersweet chocolate. Once upon a time I had a chocolate chip pie that was a lot like a pecan pie. It was so good, but incredibly rich and gooey, and I've never tried recreating it. But adding bittersweet chocolate chips to a caramel-like pecan pie sounded so natural, that I couldn't help myself, and Pecan Pie with Bittersweet Chocolate was born.

I made up my standard pecan pie recipe, using Karo brown sugar syrup instead of the light corn syrup I usually favor. Then I reduced the pecans by about half a cup and added a full cup of Ghirardelli's 60% cacao chocolate chips to the filling mixture. This baked up in no time and I literally couldn't wait to try this baby out. I was not to be disappointed, and while it may have been a little rich for the post-Thanksgiving pie fest, it's been delightful to nibble on the past few days, and I'm sad to see it gone. The balance of bittersweet chocolate, pecans, and creamy caramel filling is nothing short of perfection. The dollop of whipped cream is completely optional in this case- it was fantastic either way.

Pecan Pie with Bittersweet Chocolate

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell (try Judy's Flaky Pie Crust for a no-fail recipe)
2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup (I like Karo's brown sugar syrup)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (use good quality 60% cacao chips)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place the pie shell in a 9-inch pie plate. Brush with egg yolk, if desired. Set aside for a minute.

Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely toasted, but not burnt.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Stir in the toasted nuts and chocolate chips.

Place the empty pie shell in the oven for just a minute to warm the pie crust. It should be hot to the touch. Pour the filling in, and bake in a 375ºF oven for 35 to 45 minutes. The edges will be firm, but the center will still seem quivery, almost like gelatin. Let cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.


JEP said...

OMG...this recipe is for me! I could eat the whole pie by myself :)

Erika W. said...

Oh yes. It was a good thing I had help!