It is a family tradition that my husband and I host Thanksgiving Dinner at our home. Every single thing is made from scratch with the exception of the years that we remember to serve the canned cranberry jelly which is a holdover from my childhood.
Years ago when my husband was introduced to New Orleans cuisine and southern food (while on business travel), he developed a taste for Pecan Pie. Prior to that Pecan Pie was not eaten by either of our families. (And while I’m sharing I’ll say that our families call them pee’-cans with a giant emphasis on the word pee, which is a bit of a turn-off; the proper pronunciation is peh-kan’. If you’d like to hear it said aloud, go here.)
In our family my husband is the gourmet cook and I am the baker. And so with enjoyment if not glee, he does all the cooking on Thanksgiving. Well, the exception is that I bake the dinner rolls. He has not yet ventured into the realm of baking break from scratch (but he makes a mean pizza dough and pizzagain/Italian Ham Pie).
So a few years ago my husband added Pecan Pie to our Thanksgiving menu. Pumpkin Pie is my favorite and Apple Pie is his. Frankly I don’t have room for a third pie on my dessert plate, but he was not to hear my protestations. And his quest for the best recipe began. So far we had not found a fantastic recipe.
This year he was reading his mother’s copy of the November 2007 Gourmet magazine and spotted a recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie. He decided to make it. This is actually interesting as I’m the chocolate lover, so I’m surprised he was even interested.
I would have suggested he use our Ghirardelli brand bittersweet chocolate chips. However he was doing an errand at Bed, Bath and Beyond and saw Scharffen Berger bittersweet (artisan) chocolate on sale for about 2/3 off the regular price and bought it. We both recalled seeing Scharffen Berger on one of the food TV shows, it might have been “Unwrapped” but I am not sure. The chocolate is hand made in small batches with the finest ingredients and is Made in America. I tasted some of the chocolate bar and it was very cacao-y tasting. If you have tried eating cacao nibs or using cacao powder you know what I am talking about, it is that other and different flavor that cacao has which is so different from Hershey’s chocolate or from Nestle’s chocolate chips.
The first mistake he made while rushing through the recipe was that he tripled the sugar. So I advised rather than to throw away the batch, to triple everything and make three pies. So that is what he did. The next mistake he made was he used light corn syrup instead of dark corn syrup.
The pie is to be served warm. The strong flavor of the Scharffen Berger chocolate was a bit overwhelming and perhaps a bit ‘much’ for ‘regular’ chocolate eaters or those who think milk chocolate is fantastic. Next time we will use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate and see how it comes out. Anyhow, while warm the chocolate is all mixed in with the pecan filling and it was so rich that it was a bit much for even me. (I usually don’t flinch while others complain that a dessert is ‘too rich’.) I thought that the recipe, due to the light corn syrup, lacked that caramel flavor. However, it was really delicious. We plan to make it again. I am curious to see how the flavor changes with using the dark corn syrup instead of the light corn syrup.
Here is the recipe we used on the epicurious site: Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie.
I will admit that we did not make the pie crust from scratch. We bought it premade and uncooked (frozen) from a local apple farmer.
Also I tried it cold as a leftover and it is not very good cold. When cold the chocolate is on the bottom like a cold chocolate bar. It really needs to be warmed. It even tasted good warmed up with a short session in the microwave.
We have shared the extra pies with three families and all said it was one of the best pies they’ve ever had.
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