Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie

This pie was my contribution to our (pre-)Thanksgiving dessert table last Saturday, and it was a huge hit.  Although I love traditional pecan pie, it can sometimes be way too sweet.  In this version, the brown sugar and corn syrup are counterbalanced (and the pie is made much more adult) with the addition of bittersweet chocolate and bourbon. The chocolate flavor is much more pronounced than the bourbon - if you're a big fan of bourbon, I think you could probably add more and be very happy.  I found that I had a bit too much filling for my pan (I used a fairly shallow 9-inch pie plate) - if you have excess, just stop pouring when the pie looks like it's getting full and you'll still get a really delicious pie!  I would imagine that you'll be fine if you use a larger/deeper pie plate.  I can definitely recommend this pie for your Thanksgiving table if you're still deciding on desserts for Thursday.  It's full of nutty pecan goodness, sweet syrup-y filling, and rich chocolate.

Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Makes 1 pie

For the crust:
1-2/3 cup flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
5 to7 T ice water

For the filling:
8 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 T bourbon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the largest pieces are about the size of peas. Drizzle 5 tablespoons of the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture becomes a moist, crumbly-looking dough that holds together when squeezed in your hand, 4 to 6 pulses. If the dough is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and test again - be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be very hard to work with.
2. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic.  Chill at least one hour.
3. Cover your work surface with wax paper and place the (unwrapped) dough on the wax paper.  Cover with another sheet of wax paper, and roll out until to about a 13-inch diameter.  Be sure to peel the wax paper off the dough every so often so it doesn't get stuck!
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.  Trim the edges to about 3/4 inch, fold the remainder under, and crimp with your fingers. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line the piecrust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.
6. Bake 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and weights, and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake until the bottom looks dry and the edge are golden, 5-7 more minutes.  Cool the crust.
7. When ready to prepare the filling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack.
8. Make the filling.  Place the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl set on a kitchen towel and add the vanilla.
9. In a 1-quart saucepan, whisk together the sugar, butter, corn syrup, cream, bourbon, and salt.  Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling, 3-5 minutes.  Whisking vigorously and constantly, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the yolks.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
10. Spread the pecans evenly over the pie crust.  Sprinkle the chocolate over the pecans.  Slowly pour the filling over in a spiral motion to avoid disturbing the pecans and chocolate.
11. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes, until the center of the pie is slightly firm and the filling does not wobble.  Let cool at least 1 hour before serving.  Pie is best on the day it is made.

I'm sending this post off to the These Chicks Cooked Link Party.


  1. Pecan pie is wonderful, but can be a bit rich. This sounds like a great compromise!

  2. What happens at the end of step nine?!? I was just about to make this and noticed it was missing. GAH!!

    1. Sorry about that! You can strain the filling into whatever you like, doesn't really matter - but I updated the recipe to say "a bowl!" :)