Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie
Welcome to PIE WEEK #2!
For the second year in a row, I’m bringing you oodles of pie recipes just in time for Thanksgiving– the unofficial pie holiday. This week is also November 1st, which means November Baking Challenge! And you guessed it, it’s pie.
Let’s review last year. 2016’s Pie Week included:
- Brown sugar sweet potato pie
- Nutella tart with toasted hazelnut crust
- Brown butter pecan pie bars
- Apple cranberry pie
- Honey pear tart (with goat cheese! so easy!)
- plus a round-up including 31 Thanksgiving pie recipes
That’s certainly a lot of
sugar pie. ‘Tis the season!
And we’re not shying away from all the sugar, butter, and chocolate this year either. So let’s kick off 2017’s Pie Week with a decadent version of a Thanksgiving classic.
This is an adaption of my late grandmother’s pecan pie recipe. I posted her recipe a couple years ago, but felt inspired to share a variation this year for any new readers.
Pecan pie isn’t the variety I typically reach for, but it’s a whole other story when grandma’s is around. Her pecan pie boasts a chewy texture underneath a layer of toasty pecans. Pecan pie is usually so sweet that 1 bite will make your eyes cross. Her’s is wonderfully balanced. A lot of pecan pie recipes call for 2 cups of sugar– 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of granulated or brown sugar. The natural flavor of pecans gets lost in all that sugar, so we’ll reduce by 1/2 cup. There’s also a little sea salt to offset the sweetness. It’s a sugary pie, of course, but the reduction of sugar and a little sea salt easily lift this pecan pie out of the cloyingly sweet/eyes-crossing category.
This Thanksgiving, let’s add some dark chocolate. Why mess with pie perfection? Because not only do toasty pecans scream for a little dark chocolate, Thanksgiving dessert is seriously lacking in the chocolate department. Right?? I’m not usually one to complain about non-chocolate desserts, but I’ll gladly welcome a sliver of deep dark chocolate-y pecan pie to my dessert plate.
You’ll need 1 hefty cup of dark chocolate chips. If you can’t get your hands on dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips work just as well. Or chop up a couple dark chocolate bars and use those instead (–> yum). Sprinkle the chips on top of the pecans, then cover with the liquid filling.
What’s in the liquid filling? The usual pecan pie gang like brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, and the sea salt I mentioned above. I like to add a little cinnamon for something special. Each ingredient serves a definitive purpose– mostly to set up the filling so it stays intact. (And tastes good!) I prefer to use dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor and highly suggest you try the same.
One thing I will note, though. Make sure you use room temperature eggs. I know I say this all the time, but room temperature eggs are especially important for today’s dark chocolate pecan pie. You see, there’s melted butter in this pie filling. Cold eggs will solidify it and you’ll be left with random chunks of butter in your filling. Those chunks of butter will melt once the pie is baking, but then you’ll have random patches of pie with melty butter and others… without. We can’t have butter-less bites of pie, people. So room temp eggs will definitely make a difference!
Fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings optional. (But not really.)
Here’s to Pie Week 2.0!
Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Homemade Pie Crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; you can halve the crust recipe or freeze the 2nd half)
- 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) shelled pecans
- 1 cup (180g) dark chocolate chips*
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup*
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar (or light brown)
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- sea salt for topping
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
- After the pie crust has chilled, adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (you can freeze the 2nd for later use, see note). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish.* Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Flute or crimp the edges of the crust. No need to pre-bake the crust.
- The filling: Spread pecans evenly inside pie crust and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top. Set aside. Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Once completely combined and thick, pour evenly over pecans and chocolate chips.
- Bake the pie for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly. You can also tent a piece of aluminum foil over the whole pie if the top is browning too quickly. Remove finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. The pie filling will set as it cools.
- Slice and serve pie warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Cover and store leftover pie at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Make ahead tip/Freezing: Pecan pie is a wonderful dessert to make ahead of time. You can get started by combining all the filling ingredients (except the pecans and chocolate chips) one day ahead of time. Keep it covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pie. You can also make the pie dough 1-5 days in advance since it needs to chill. If you want to bake the pie 1 full day in advance, bake it as directed, allow it to completely cool, then cover tightly and keep at room temperature until ready to serve the next day. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
*You can freeze the 2nd pie dough for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
*I strongly recommend a glass pie dish so you can see when the crust on the sides is browning, which signals that the pie is finished.
*Instead of dark chocolate chips, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips. Or 6 ounces of chopped semi-sweet, dark, or bittersweet chocolate.
*You can use light corn syrup instead. I have no subtitution suggestions yielding the same texture, moisture, and flavor. Corn syrup is a must in traditional pecan pie.
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