Saturday 17 November 2018

Chocolate Pie and Pecan Pie–Two deliciously decadent Thanksgiving dessert recipes

Minnies Chocolate Pie -If you ever needed an excuse to make a totally decadent dessert it would surely be Thanksgiving.  Forget the turkey, the dressing (or stuffing) and the sprouts, it’s the dessert that matters here, and the sweeter the better.

Having in the past made my family's all time favourites no bake cheesecake, Delia’s chocolate truffle cake and chocolate brownies for Thanksgiving in the UK when having American friends round, I decided to do a little research on what I should be preparing here in Texas – and to add to my repertoire in the UK. 

So I’ve picked two specialities, pecan pie and chocolate pie, and you eat them both together at your peril but anyone with a sweet tooth will be overjoyed when either of these, let alone both, appear on the table.

Before you start, and if you’re not already a pie maker extraordinaire, you might like to read these articles on
Delia Smith on How to make basic shortcrust pastry
Lorraine Pascale on Sweet shortcrust pastry
Baking pie crusts blind.

Also you will need: A 9” pie dish - You can use a decorative flan/pie dish and serve your pie from there, or a flan dish with a removable base so you can take out your pie and serve it on a different plate.  This is my preferred way of serving a pie like this.
Greaseproof paper
Dried beans for baking blind
Foil for covering the edge of your pie to stop it burning during cooking
Set your oven at 350F or 177C

Minnie’s Chocolate Pie – courtesy of Food and  I’ve added in UK measurements as well, and this recipe calls for a bought dough, you can buy pre rolled Jus-Rol Shortcrust pastry ready rolled or in a block (from pretty well any UK supermarket) or make your own.

Ingredients1 packaged pie dough crust, such as Pillsbury (US) or Jus-Rol (UK)
1 1/2 cups sugar – 355 grams or 12 oz
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk – 177ml or 6 fl oz
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving

Method – Pastry
: Heat the oven to 350F or 177C.  Line a 9” pie dish* with your pastry, prick with a fork then chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.  Then ‘bake it blind’ by lining with greaseproof paper or foil and filling it with dried beans (to weigh the paper down).  Bake for 15 minutes in the center of the oven.  Take it out, take out the paper and the beans and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes to dry out the base.  Make sure that your pastry doesn’t go brown.  Allow to cool.

Method – Filling and pie: Whisk all the ingredients (except for the cream) together in a bowl until smooth, pour into your pastry case and bake for about 45 minutes, at which point the edge will be set but the middle still a bit wobbly.  Note:  To stop the crust from burning put foil around the edge of the pie about 25 minutes into cooking.


Pecan Pie – Courtesy of The Food Network
Food Network Kitchen Pecan Pie
This recipe calls for sweet shortcrust pastry.  You can make the one in the Food Network pie recipe or use Lorraine Pascale’s recipe for The Daily Mail.  In both cases make sure your butter is chilled, and that you wrap your dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for about an hour before using it.  Then bake it blind as in the recipe above.

The main thing here, of course, is the filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar – or 225 grams
3/4 cup light corn syrup – 177ml and use Golden Syrup in the UK
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans – 1lb
1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon – Here’s what you’ll find at Ocado – You could use whisky but it won’t taste quite the same.
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Method – Pastry:   Make your pastry case from the sweet shortcrust pastry recipe and bake blind as above

Method – Filling and Pie: In a medium sized saucepan put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring all the time and allow to boil for one minute.  Then take it off the heat and add in the nuts, bourbon and vanilla.  Allow to cool for about five minutes.

If your pie crust has totally cooled down warm it through in the oven for five minutes.

Whisk the eggs into the mixture, then pour the filling into the warm crust.  Bake on the lower rack in the oven until the edges are properly set but the the middle is still slightly wobbly – about 40 to 45 minutes. 

Note:  As for the chocolate pie cover the edges of the crust with strips of foil half way if they are going dark.

Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens
Both of these pies are very rich and are best served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  Don’t expect to have any left over……