My iPhone “Notes” application is filled with roughly 157 notes, most of which contain strings of words which eventually materialize into the recipes you find on this blog. Inspiration is sporadic, and my notes are often random lines such as “Chocolate Cream Pie + Cinnamon Whipped Cream + Pecan Pie?” Oh the wonderful things you can think of when you are supposed to be replying to emails...
After some highly technical recipe-investigating, and a whole lot of butter, that electronic note became a tangible, edible reality.
If you are not a stranger to this blog you know that this is about the time when I would offer a friendly lecture on how you should never, ever, ever, use a store-bought pie crust. I highly doubt that I need to repeat that lecture, because I think we are all clear on the fact that store-bought pie crusts are evil and I am sure that none of you would ever consider bringing one into your home, right? Good, we can now proceed.
This pie begins with a traditional pecan filling. Our pecans are roasted with cloves and cinnamon, given a rough chop, and covered in an irresistibly sticky mixture of corn syrup, egg yolks, butter, and sugar. This is the first layer of our pie.
Next, we prepare our chocolate filling. This custard uses both dutch-processed cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to provide it with the rich chocolate flavor which will perfectly counteract the sweetness of the pecan layer.
Lastly, a spoonful of cream whipped with cinnamon tops our pie, completing the perfect triad of flavors and textures.
I think this pie should make it to all of our Thanksgiving tables this year.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday filled with family, pies, and lots of mashed potatoes.
Chocolate Custard Pecan Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
serves 10 / recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker, Tyler Florence, and The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
for the crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- egg wash (1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon water)
Sift to combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Transfer the sifted flour mixture to the work bowl of your food processor. Add cubed butter and pulse several times until the butter is worked in and in pea-sized pieces. The mixture should be the texture of rough cornmeal.
Combine water, vinegar, and ice in a small bowl. Add the cold water mixture to the rough dough several tablespoons at a time, pulsing 1-2 times after each addition. Add just enough liquid to bring the dough roughly together. Divide the dough in half and form two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Place one disc of chilled dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 12 inch circle. Fold the circle in half and lay the crust across one side of a 9inch glass pie pan, unfold the disc so that the crust covered the pan and gently smooth out the crust. Trim away an excess crust beyond 1 1/2 inches before forming the edge of the crust by folding and pinching. Place the prepared crust in the refrigerator to rest for thirty minutes. Use a fork to puncture the bottom of the crust several times and transfer to the freezer for ten minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line the chilled crust tightly with aluminum foil, wrapping the foil around the crimped edges, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Remove from the oven and brush with egg wash, then return to the oven and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes. While the crust is cooling prepare pecan filling.
for the pecan filling
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raw pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sauté pan combine pecans, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the pecans become fragrant and begin to release their oils - about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and chop roughly.
Place the spiced pecans in the bottom of the prepared crust.
In a large bowl whisk to combine corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Pour the filling over the pecans and transfer the pie to the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the pie filling jiggles slightly. Allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Once the pie has cooled prepare the chocolate custard.
for the chocolate custard
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
In a small bowl whisk to combine egg yolks, cornstarch, and heavy whipping cream. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine whole milk, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and stir frequently until the mixture is steaming, but not boiling.
Slowly stream 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking rapidly to temper the yolks. Return the tempered mixture to the saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it has thickened and reached a boil. Remove from heat and fold in semisweet chocolate. Pour the custard over the cooled pecan layer. Refrigerate the pie for 3 hours or until the custard has set.
for the cinnamon whipped cream
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
Combine cream, cinnamon, and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Serve with chilled pie. Enjoy!