So, I was thinking that sometime this week, you might need a new dessert to try. Something to take to a party or win the love of a man who won’t eat cooked fruit. Something so luscious that, in nine months, a crop of firstborns will be named after you.
You’ve got to make Michele Stuart’s Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie.
Michele is a bakery owner who’s won 26 National Pie Championship awards. Her new book, “Perfect Pies,” is full of delicious-sounding pies (case in point: Coffee-Heath Bar Crunch), but I chose the Chocolate Pecan Bourbon, because it’s her signature pie. Her “lucky” pie. Her first National Pie Championship award-winner.
And holy goodness, it is a religious experience. One of those desserts you want to eat with your eyes closed.
The crust is simple and straightforward. She uses an all-Crisco recipe for maximum flakiness, but you could use all-butter or a combination of butter and shortening.
Once you’ve placed your dough in the pie plate, you can sprinkle it with chopped nuts and chocolate chips and pour in the filling, which is a mixture of eggs, sugar, dark corn syrup, vanilla, bourbon and melted butter. (The bourbon cuts the sweetness of the pie, but you could leave it out and double-up on vanilla.)
As the pie bakes, the filling separates into two layers: a crisp, crunchy layer of chopped pecans on top and a rich, oozy, chocolaty layer on the bottom.
This pie is easiest to slice straight out of the fridge, but you’ll get the best flavor if you slice it and either let it get to room temperature or heat it in the oven for about 10 minutes – long enough for the chocolate to get warm enough to really taste.
To take this pie completely over the top, serve it with ice cream or Michele’s sweet, buttery Bourbon Sauce. Or both.
Those babies aren’t going to name themselves.
Adapted from Michele Stuart’s “Perfect Pies”
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1 recipe Traditional Pastry Piecrust (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (to glaze the pie edges)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups dark corn syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- To Prepare the Pie Shell: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half a ball of dough into a 10-inch circle.
- Place the circle in a 9-inch pie plate so the edges of the circle drop over the rim.
- Using your thumb and index finger, crimp the edges of the pie shell.
- Brush the edges with heavy cream to create a golden brown finish. Set the pie shell to the side.
- For the Filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. (Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at least twice while mixing.)
- Add the warm melted butter, and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the pecans and chocolate. Sprinkle the mixture over the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the filling over the nuts and chips.
- Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is firm. (The middle will remain a little loose but firm up after the pie is removed from the oven.)
- Transfer the pie to a wire cooling rack, and let it cool for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
- Serve with a drizzle of Bourbon Sauce or ice cream.
Note: This pie is best served at room temperature or warmed at 350 degree F for about 10 minutes. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to 2 weeks.
Traditional Pastry Piecrust
If you’d prefer not to use all-Crisco, you can substitute an equal amount of butter or use a half-butter, half-shortening mixture.
Makes enough for 2 single 9- or 10-inch piecrusts
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Crisco, cold
- 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, for glazing the crimped edges
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt.
- Add the Crisco.
- With a pastry blender or your fingertips, mix the ingredients until the dough forms coarse, pea-sized crumbs. (You don’t want the Crisco to become too incorporated.)
- Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, delicately incorporating each tablespoon. (You may have to use 1 more or 1 less tablespoon than the recommended amount, depending on the humidity.) You’ll know you’ve added the right amount of water when the dough forms a ball that easily holds together.
- Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half. You now have enough dough for either two 9- or 10-inch single crusts or one double-crust.
- For this pie,wrap and store one half of the dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days for future use. Take the remaining half of the dough, and use it for this recipe.
Makes 2 cups
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- In a heavy-bottom medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, whisking continuously for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved and turns light brown.
- Slowly whisk in the cream, and then the bourbon.
- Use immediately, or let the sauce cool to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight storage container and refrigerate for about 1 week.