Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chocolate Pecan Pie

The weather is cooling down, the leaves are turning yellow/orange… Fall is finally here! Even though, technically, fall started on September 22nd, the past week has finally been fall-like here in Indiana. And you know what? Fall is my FAVORITE season!!! I just love the season change, the crisp air… All I can say is: Yay!
If I think of fall, I think of pies. Yes, I guess I am still a sweet tooth at heart :-) However, I have always been scared of making my own pie dough. There are so many different pie dough recipes out there: which one to make? Butter or shortening? Yes or no to sugar in the crust? So many questions… Well, my goal this season is to find my favorite pie dough recipe and stick with it. I want to be able to have it figured out by Thanksgiving, when I plan on making dessert pies for our family gathering.
While researching for the perfect pie dough, I started with my favorite FoodNetwork chef: Alton Brown. I have his first Good Eats recipe book and tried his recipe for the no-pan pear pie (also online here).  He also explained my question of butter vs. shortening: shortening is a lot easier to work with because it has a melting point higher than body temperature, but butter wins in flavor! So that’s what I used in my recipe too.
For the pie filling part, I tried Emeril Lagasse’s Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe. The filling turned out great! I did not make the caramel sauce in his original recipe, but I’m sure it would taste super yummy with the pie.

So, what was the outcome of the whole pie? Usually I like to display pictures of the foods I make so that people have something to go off of, but this one I could only show the empty pie dish… I entered this pie in a neighborhood pie baking contest and everyone loved it! I did get first place, which I was super excited about. Emeril’s recipe online does have a small picture of his own pie, if you need to see one. I hope to take a picture of this pie in the future when I make it again (and I know I’ll be making it again!).

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (recipe below)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread the pecan pieces and the chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie shell.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake until the filling sets, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into individual servings and serve with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce (optional) and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Pie Crust

12 oz (or 2 ½ cups) AP flour, plus additional for dusting
2 ¼ oz (or ½ cup) cornmeal
1 ½ oz (or 3 Tbsp) sugar
1 tsp salt
2 oz (or ½ stick) unsalted butter, diced at room temperature
6 oz (or 1 ½ stick) unsalted butter, diced, divided and chilled in freezer for at least 10 minutes
½ cup iced apple juice, in spritz bottle

Pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt in a food processor to combine. Add the room-temperature butter and pulse until the fat completely disappears into the dry ingredients.
Add half of the chilled butter and pulse 18 times, or until the flour mixture resembles peasized crumbs. Add the rest of the chilled butter and pulse 3 or 4 more times.
Transfer this mixture to a medium-size mixing bowl. Spritz with just enough juice to moisten the surface of the dough. Mix with a spatula. Continue spritzing and mixing until a handful of dough, when squeezed, remains compressed (you may not use all the juice). When you’ve got good adhesion, gather the dough into a round disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes so that the flour can absorb the moisture.
Place the dough on a clean floured surface and roll the dough to a ¼ inch-thick disk and place on pie dish. Fill with your favorite pie filling!

Recipes adapted from:
Chocolate Pecan pie filling – Emeril Lagasse
Pie dough recipe – Alton Brown, Good Eats

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on winning first place! How exciting is that!?! I've never entered a competition before, but you are inspiring me. This sounds just amazing (I love pecan pie and adding chocolate is just great!) Thanks for sharing!