Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday, and, for me, the most important part of the celebration is not turkey or cranberries but PIE. I am not a huge pie lover, but Thanksgiving is a day that calls for pie. In general, I try to make traditional desserts for Thanksgiving but add a few twists. (See our π day post for the most amazing apple pie!)
One of my favorite pies is pecan, but I found myself searching for something to temper the cloying sweetness. A few years ago I discovered Tyler Florence’s recipe for Bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie. It has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving treats ever since ~ still over-the-top rich with a boozy, bitter edge that I love.
Bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie Crust
1 c. all-purpose flour ~ plus more for dusting
¼ c. finely ground pecans
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
½ c. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 – 3 Tbsp ice water
¼ c. unsalted butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
¾ c. dark corn syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. bourbon
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. pecan halves
1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F
2. Crust ~ Mix together flour, ground pecans, sugar, and salt.
** I keep a coffee grinder specifically for grinding nuts and spices. Grinding raw rice will help clean the grinder after using.
3. Add the butter. Mix with a food processer, pastry cutter, or your hands until the mixture looks crumbly.
** I use a mixture of shortening and butter. In this case, I use 6 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp shortening.
4. Add the ice water and mix until dough just begins to hold together and form a ball. Add additional liquid, as needed, only 1 Tbsp. at a time.
5. Mold into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
7. Transfer the dough to an ungreased, 9-inch pie pan and crimp the edges.
8. Filling ~ Finely chop the chocolate.
** Make sure to use UNSWEETENED chocolate. This is sold in bars in the baking aisle.
9. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
** I melt chocolate using a double boiler method. Put chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pan with simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch bottom of the pan or the water. This will help ensure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
10. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy then blend in sugar.
11. Stir in corn syrup, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and melted butter/chocolate.
** Feel free to reduce the amount of bourbon or eliminate all together based on your tastes.
12. Arrange the pecans on the bottom of the unbaked pie crust and carefully pour the filling over them.
** I have found that using full pecan halves can make slicing difficult. I now place a ring of pecan halves along the outer edge by the crust. The remaining, I coarsely chop and use in the middle.
13. Bake ~ 45 minutes until the filling is set and slightly puffed. Bake on a cookie sheet to help taking in and out of the oven.
14. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the center of the pie. It should come out pretty clean. Cool completely before cutting.
15. Serve warm or room temperature with ice cream and/or whipped cream.
Remember, Thanksgiving is not a day for moderation. Take the extra slice. Top with Ice Cream and Whipped Cream.