I’ve been eating pecan pie my entire life. My mother is from Shreveport, Louisiana and although I was raised in Rochester, New York, pecans were shipped to us every holiday season. It was rare, if not impossible, to find pecans in the stores in Rochester at that time. My grandmother shipped whole pecans in the shell to us and I assisted in removing the nuts from the hard shells using old nutcrackers.
My mother made a traditional pecan pie and she didn’t make a crust from scratch. I grew up in the era of newly discovered convenience food and my mother was a working mother so some short cuts were welcomed. Her filling was a typical gooey sweet and heavily nutty one. We almost always ate our slices served warm with vanilla ice cream.
As I grew up and traveled and discovered more food, I was exposed to recipes other than my grandmother’s and mother’s. There’s always a next level to discover and create. I’m an admitted chocoholic so when my friend Eve introduced me to her version with the addition of chocolate, I had to add that and make it my own with a touch of bourbon. The quality of the chocolate is very important to me and I’m partial to the local Bay area company Guittard. Amy Guittard is a colleague and friend and she’s the fifth generation in her family to work at the company. And though I love a good barrel-aged bourbon, the quality of bourbon doesn’t matter as much since most of the alcohol is cooked off. Although, since such a small amount is used, better to buy the good stuff for “leftovers.”
The best part of this recipe is its simplicity. It’s a real dump and stir. Since so much of holiday meal preparation takes a long time, it’s nice to know that dessert, often the most intimidating part of the meal to make, is just minutes away. This combination of chocolate, pecans and bourbon is so flavorful and rich that just a slightly sweetened home whipped cream is the only accompaniment needed to enjoy this divine combination.
Tanya Holland’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Makes one 9″ pie or 8 servings
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or bar cut into chunks
- 2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbl vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 2 Tbl butter, melted
- 1 homemade pie crust (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Roll out pie dough and shape into 9″ pie plate. Prick bottom with fork and chill until needed, at least 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips over bottom of pie dough.
- In a small pot over medium high heat, combine corn syrups and brown sugar. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes and stir well. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add bourbon.
- Meanwhile combine eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk well. Slowly drizzle sugar syrup into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour mixture over pecans and chocolate.
- Place pie in oven for 1 hour. Filling should be slightly browned and firm. Let cool 1 hour before serving.
Recipe: Homemade Pie Crust
Makes one 9″ pie crust
Ingredients for pie dough:
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, diced
- ½ cup sour cream
- Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to combine butter with dry ingredients until the butter is pea-sized. Add sour cream and mix just until incorporated.
- Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board and knead together briefly. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour before rolling out.
- Roll dough on a lightly floured into a circle slightly larger than the pie pan. Fit the dough into the pan and trim excess dough from around the edges. Pinch edges of the dough between the thumb and middle finger to form scalloped edges.