This is it. The pie I had been waiting a year to make. It's the Baked Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie. Ever since I first purchased the original Baked cookbook, nearly a year and a half ago, I have had my eye on this recipe. I arrived late to the pecan pie party of life. I never tasted one until 3 Thanksgivings ago, and it was love at first bite. I vowed to make one myself at that moment. Finally, three long years later, I am making good on that promise. And it is quite a doozy.
As with anything the Baked boys come up with, this is a fresh, exciting riff on a traditional pecan pie. Take your ordinary model, then jazz it up with a shot of bourbon and a healthy sprinkling of semisweet chocolate. The result is a purely sinful, nutty, interesting dessert that definitely belongs up there with the big boys at the Thanksgiving goodie table.
Now, I have always had an irrational fear of pie dough, but since I trust the Baked book I decided to just stick to their Classic Pie Dough recipe. The recipe calls for butter, no shortening, and the use of a food processor to easily throw everything together. It all sounded good to me. Things went smoothly, I'm happy to say, and then I put half the dough into the freezer, for another use, and half into the fridge, to firm up before the next steps.
Thanks to a phone call to my mom (the most seasoned pie baker I know!), I made the decision to blind bake my crust. Although the Baked book did not explicitly state to do so, I felt it was a good way to ensure the crust would be cooked completely throughout, and would not become soggy after the pie filling was put on top of it. It was super simple: I placed parchment paper on top of my empty pie shell after pricking the shell a bit with a fork. Next, I filled the parchment with dried split peas and rice, until they measured 1 pound. I placed the pie shell into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, then removed it to cool.
I froze the cooled crust until it was time to bake it again with the filling. At this point, I wasn't sure whether the whole thing would work well, but I needn't have been concerned. The crust was just as I wanted it to be after everything was said and done. It's funny; when I tasted it I could tell it was an all-butter crust. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I did notice that it was less flaky than the pie crust I'm used to. I know shortening lends that unique texture to pie crust, so maybe next time I'll try that out. But for this, I was happy with my crust.
And the rest of the pie? How was that, you ask? Well, it was heaven! I will say this, though: if you attempt it, be warned that it is very rich and very chocolatey. Just a little slice will be more than enough! I toned down the bourbon in this and used semisweet chocolate that I cut into small chunks, instead of the recommended chocolate chips. The chocolate was a dominant flavor in the pie, and while it was decadent scrumptiousness, it didn't taste like an everyday pecan pie. But then again, that was kind of the point of making a Baked pie! I loved this, and I was very happy to have conquered my first from-scrach pecan pie. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
makes one 9-inch pie
For the Classic Pie Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup ice cold water
For the pie:
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. bourbon
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
Assemble the pie dough: 1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. Cut the cold butter into cubes and toss the cubes into the flour mixture to coat. Put the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse in short bursts until the pieces of butter are the size of hazelnuts.
2. While pulsing in quick, 4-second bursts, drizzle the ice water into the food processor through the feed tube. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, remove it from the food processor and divide it into two equal balls. Flatten to a disk and wrap each disk first in parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disks until firm, about 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe. Only half the recipe, or one disk, will be used for the pecan pie.)
Make the pecan pie: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Unwrap the ball of chiled dough and put it directly on the work surface. Roll out into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the pie dish, folding any overhang under and crimping the edge as you go.
2. Prick the pie shell a few times with a fork. Place a layer of parchment paper on the pie dough, pressing into the edges gently, then fill the pie shell with dried beans or rice. "Blind bake" the pie shell for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
3. Wrap and freeze the crust until firm, about 2 hours, or up to 3 months. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coarsely chop about 3/4 cup of the pecans. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Add the corn syrup, sugars, butter, salt, vanilla, and bourbon. Whisk again until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans and set the filling aside.
5. Spread the chocolate pieces evenly along the bottom of the frozen pie shell. Slowly pour the filling on top of the chocolate chips. Arrange the remaining 1 1/4 cups pecan halves on top of the filling.
6. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Test the pie by sticking a knife in the center of the filling. If the knife comes out clean, the pie is done. If the knife comes out with clumps of filling sticking to it, bake for another 5 minutes and test again.
7. Cool the pie on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature. The pie can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 2 days.