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Southern chocolate pecan pie

September 11, 2011

This Is Not A Post About Flapjack.

But WHY is it called flapjack? I have to ask. It’s not particularly flappy; did Jack create it? Is it something to make whilst in a flap? It is rather easy. If you’d like to try some, go for this recipe, which is both millionaire shortbread and flapjack in one. But don’t get me started on millionaire shortbread for a name. Pre-made caramel isn’t THAT expensive.

I just realised – this week (the 7th September, to be precise) The Bake Escape was ONE YEAR OLD! Happy birthday dear bakers. I may have to bake something else soon. I dreamed about brandy snaps last night. Brandy snaps and macaroons…

Today’s post is a rich, chocolate pecan pie. Despite the syrupy part of pecan pie (yuck) this is actually my favourite – or at least one of my favourite – desserts. Especially with caramel ice cream. And this is actually the second time this year I have made one (which is actually a lot. Despite loving it I hardly ever eat it. There’s something about the nuts AND chocolate AND syrup AND pastry all in one that sort of screams heart attack. Just a little bit). Hence you may notice the pictures feature two slightly different pies. Once you’re done leave naked (NB it, not you), or dust generously with cocoa powder depending on your gloss/matt Dulux preferences.

I altered the recipe however, during baking, and will alter it here in retrospect. This one includes more chocolate than my book stated, and less sugar than I used this time; I will definitely be using less sugar when I make again. It was just a little too sweet; even with a pecan pie there are limits…

Makes one shallow, 20cm pie. You’ll need a loose-based pie dish like the one above, and some baking beans.

Ingredients:

  • 180 g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 110 g chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp iced cold water
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 medium egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
  • 100 g pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 200 oC / gas mark 6. First make the pastry – which takes some prep time. Place all the top ingredients into a food processor, save the water, and process until resembling fine crumbs, which may begin to come together. Add the egg yolk and pulse, continuing just until the mixture comes together into a dough. Use some or all of the water if needed. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 20-30 mins to firm up.

Next roll out the dough on a floured surface. I use floured baking paper, which saves problems of picking the dough up to place on the tin later. It helps, believe me! Try to get it right the first time, as every time you knead or reroll the dough, it becomes tougher. Roll out into a circle several inches larger than your tin (and quite thin) and use to line it. Prick all over with a fork and chill again for 15 mins. When ready bake blind: line the pie crust with a circle of baking parchment, then fill with baking beans (this stops the pastry puffing up in the oven). Or you can use dried chickpeas instead. Bake for 15 mins blind, then a further 5-10 mins without the beans and paper until the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool.

Finally to make the filling, heat the double cream and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until the sugar has completely melted and starting to simmer round the edges. Take off the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth. Finally, add in the egg yolks and keep stirring, returning to a very low heat, until the mixture thickens (this takes a little while). When thick, take off the heat, and stir in the vanilla, bourbon and pecan halves. Pour into the cooled pastry case and chill until firm (several hours). To finish, either leave as is, dust with cocoa, or cover with chocolate shavings.

The “Southern” part is actually a bit tautologous, given that the humble pecan pie came from the South to start with. We can thank the French also, who when moving to New Orleans apparently invented the dish following their introduction to the pecan nut by their Native American neighbours. Mississippi mud pie, pecan pie, apple pie…pies will surely draw me to America. Mmm, pie.

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