Friends, I am struggling today. The baby didn’t sleep well last night (more teething?) and I am running on fumes and a Venti Starbucks chai latte, with plans to make a big cup of night owl tea later. But for now, I’m going to tell you about a pie of which I am very proud.
My church group, in addition to doing regular brunches, has a few regular events. You may remember that last year we hosted the Friendsgiving at our house and I roasted a turkey. Well, this year we weren’t hosting, and I decided to go much more low-key. I volunteered to make a pie because pie seems like it should be easy enough. But I am the grouch who doesn’t really like pumpkin pie, and while I’ve made apple pies in the past, fruit pies are not my favorite either. I am in fact, not really a pie person at all (cake forever!), but pie is the dessert of Thanksgiving, and so a pie was called for. I put out a desperate plea to my book club for pie ideas. And it was there that I was reminded of pecan pie as a completely valid choice for Thanksgiving. Then I remembered on my own that my friend Heather (of the Ghostbusters interview) had a recipe of hers published in the Washington Post many years ago, and she had told me proudly of how good it was. And besides that, if it’s published in the newspaper, it means professionals had tested it, and also found it delicious and worthy of publication.
So that was it. I love chocolate, I do actually like pecan pie, and with that, my plan was set. I actually baked the pie the night before Friendsgiving because I would be running around to a few different events the day of, and would have no time to prep or bake. Thankfully, this is the kind of pie that doesn’t hurt from sitting to set a little while, and it turned out really well. I will say that I didn’t have actual bourbon (had to make do with Jack Daniels, which is technically Tennessee whiskey, but you know, close enough), and I didn’t have quite enough whiskey either. But that’s ok, because when we bit into the pie, you could definitely tell it was a boozy pie.
This is perhaps not a pie you should serve to very small children, unless you are trying to inoculate them to the taste of liquor, which – why??? But it got high praise from the crowd at dinner, who were all very excited to eat it, and thought it was super yummy – even those who don’t normally like pecan pie as much. We had a small amount of leftovers, but those didn’t last long either. So yes, Heather. Your recipe is delicious. And to everyone else who may be looking for a legitimately tasty recipe to bring to your holiday gathering, consider this one. But only if you want to people to love you, and be warned that this may mean having to bake more in the future.
Heather’s Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Yield: One 9-inch pie, with 8 full-size slices.
1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup, such as Karo brand
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 9-inch homemade or store-bought unbaked pie crust
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 4 – 6 hours before you are ready to bake, combine the pecans and bourbon in a small container; seal tightly and shake the container occasionally to promote even soaking. When ready to bake, set a strainer over a small bowl to catch the bourbon; strain the nuts, and reserve the bourbon separately.
Preheat to 325 degrees, with an oven rack in the middle.
Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the brown sugar has melted and the mixture is well combined. Remove from the heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
Place the pie crust in a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate, crimp the rim decoratively and place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Place the soaked pecans on the bottom of the crust.
Combine the eggs, 1/4 cup of the reserved bourbon, vanilla extract and salt in a medium mixing bowl and mix well. Gradually add the slightly cooled sugar-chocolate mixture, stirring to combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the pecans in the pie crust.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the center of the pie has set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.