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Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie

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Serves 8 to 10

Yields one 9-inch pie

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 113

Bourbon’s sweet, toasty flavor is the perfect partner for the dark chocolate in this rich pie filling.

For the pie dough
  • 7-1/2 oz. (1-2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 5 to 7 Tbs. ice water
For the filling
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. bourbon, such as Maker's Mark or Knob Creek
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Make the pie dough

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 corn kernels, 8 to 12 one-second pulses. Drizzle 5 Tbs. 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.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Gently gather and press the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Let the dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly (it should be firm but not rock hard), 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how long it was chilled. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about 13 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Roll from the center of the dough to the edges and try to use as few passes as possible to avoid overworking the dough. After every few passes, run an offset spatula or a bench knife under the dough to be sure it isn’t sticking, and give the dough a quarter turn. Reflour the work surface and rolling pin only as needed—excess flour makes the crust tough.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it into the plate. You can also fold the dough in half and unfold it into the plate. To fit the dough into the plate, gently lift the edges to create enough slack to line the sides without stretching the dough. Trim off all but 3/4 inch of the overhang. Roll the dough under itself to build up the edge of the crust. Crimp the edge of the crust with your fingers. With the tines of a fork, prick the crust all over. Chill for up to 1 hour in the refrigerator or about 30 minutes in the freezer.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line the piecrust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the bottom looks dry and the edges are golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and put a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack.

Make the filling

Put the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl set on a kitchen towel and add the vanilla. Combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, cream, bourbon, and salt in a 1-quart saucepan. Heat over medium heat just until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisking vigorously and constantly, very slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the yolks. Strain through a fine strainer set over a 1-quart measuring cup.
 

Fill and bake the pie
Tip:
Pour the filling over the pecans in a slow, spiral motion; if you go too fast, the pecans may move, leaving gaps in the finished pie.

Spread the pecans evenly in the piecrust. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly over the pecans. Slowly pour the filling over the pecans. Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake until the center of the pie is slightly firm to the touch and the filling doesn’t wobble when the pie is nudged, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

The pie dough may be made up to 1 month ahead; wrap it well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out. The pie can be made up to 1 day ahead (store covered with plastic at room temperature), but it's best eaten warm.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 630; Fat (g): fat g 45; Fat Calories (kcal): 400; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 21; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 54; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 200; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 225; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is a favorite every time I make it. Perfect combination of ingredients to make it an extra special treat.

I made this for Thanksgiving. It was excellent. The filling set well and wasn't too sweet. I thought the chocolate and bourbon were a little strong the day the pie was made. I refrigerated the leftovers, then set out at room temp to take the chill off before serving again. This did not do much for the crust, but the filling flavors tasted more balanced. The bourbon flavor was subtle but present. The chocolate was distinct but not as overwhelming as it was the first day when it was melted. Vanilla ice cream is a must.

This was awesome, the only bad part about it is I was anticipating so much eating a lot of it and while I was changing my sons diaper all my guests ate it except for a little small piece. We served it with Tillamook Vanilla Bean icecream and it was great. I did switch out the crust recipe and used Spiced Rum,too. I do not know if my aforementioned little slice of heaven did not have enough chocolate in it, but I would add a little more chopped chocolate to it next time.

I used a different recipe for the pie crust when making this pie, so I can't comment on the crust recipe. I think the bourbon was too subtle and the chocolate was far too bold. The pie filling tasted quite good in the bites that didn't have any chocolate. In the bites with chocolate, it just tasted like a chocolate bar. If I made this again, I would probably leave out the chocolate or cut it down by half or a quarter. If I left any in, I would chop it up quite fine and put it underneath the pecans. (I used un-chopped chocolate chips). I think this would improve the presentation of the pie and hopefully it would make the chocolate much more subtle. But, like I said, I would also consider leaving out the chocolate altogether. On the positive side, this was fun to make as it was a nice variation on the traditional pecan pie. I think results would be very good if the chocolate would be made more subtle or taken out.

An excellent recipe with great results but I gave it four-stars because, for my taste, the bourbon-chocolate somewhat overpowered the pecans. I must be something of a pecan pie purist having eaten so many wonderful samples of my mother's work who was raised in the Savannah, GA area. I will be trying David Guas' Classic Southern Pecan Pie recipe to see how it stacks up to my mom's gold standard.

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