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November 11 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe » 29 comments

Chocolate Pecan Pie

A pecan pie is this: a thick, gooey band of sweet filling that tastes faintly of molasses, nestled into a flaky pie crust and topped with a ridged mosaic of pecan halves.  I’ve never made one and, despite Kevin’s request that I do so for this year’s Thanksgiving, I worried that it would not fit on the menu.  Not that I have a problem capping off a lavish Thanksgiving buffet with a truly gluttonous variety of pies.  Oh no, to the contrary.  But, this year, I was afraid that my appetites and my time do not quite match up.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Kevin and I fly into Minneapolis on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, arriving well after dark.  On a normal Wednesday, I’d be heading to bed around the time we’ll get to my parents’ house.  My plan for that evening—barring travel woes, which seem to befall us every. single. holiday.—is to proceed directly to the kitchen.  I will not pass go (though I will accept a glass of wine) and I will immediately get to work on the pies, a category of the meal I’ve agreed to spearhead.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I think I’ll make a couple batches of pie dough in advance, maybe next weekend.  I’ll stow them in my freezer and then slip them into my carry-on.  My hope is that they’ll stay semi-frozen (or, at the very least, cold) throughout the short flight from Chicago to Minnesota. Still, though, time will be tight that Wednesday night.  Our typical line-up includes at least a pumpkin pie and a chocolate pie, like this French Silk Pie.  I went and made a Peanut Butter Pudding Pie for Christmas last year, though, and my sister—who is generally pretty ambivalent about desserts (I know!)—has requested, nay, demanded, that I make one for Thanksgiving.  Were I to honor Kevin’s Pecan Pie request, we’d be up to four pies.  In one night.  Even I am not that crazy, people.

Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie

So, I hemmed and I hawed and I toyed with the idea of forgoing sleep on Wednesday night.  Until, eureka!, it hit me: I could combine two pies (the chocolate and the pecan) into one: Chocolate Pecan Pie.  Unsurprisingly, Martha Stewart (and, likely, countless other bakers) reached this brilliant solution long before I.


So, last weekend, I decided to give the Chocolate Pecan Pie its dress rehearsal.  The only snag came at the grocery store, in the baking aisle, where I was unable to procure corn syrup, as I’d planned.  Which is kind of a major snag because, at this point, I was pretty sure that corn syrup was the main ingredient in a pecan pie.  Or, at least the co-main ingredient, right up there with the pecans.  Nevertheless, according to one of the Whole Foods employees in the baking aisle last Friday, my store is not currently stocking corn syrup.  He suggested that I try honey or agave nectar and I also pondered a maple syrup substitution.  In the end, I used agave nectar, which worked beautifully.  I think a combination of that and maple would be lovely, too.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

That snag aside, the pie came together well. The patterned pecan topping was a joy: gingerly placing the pecan halves on top of the filling in a set of orderly, concentric circles (because I’m the kind of gal who hates to color outside the lines—always have), where they hovered in place ever so delicately, was the highlight of my day.  And about the crust.  I say to heck with crimping, fluting, or otherwise elaborately adorning the edges of a pie crust.  I quite like the look achieved by simply pressing the tines of a fork (a cold, floured fork works best) along the edge of the pie plate.  I think it works particularly well with this pie, as the parallel tine-marks mirror the pecans’ ridged backs.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

But the best news of all is that Kevin has approved this pie’s slot on this year’s Thanksgiving roster.  So: we’ve got our three pies.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 10 servings
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups agave nectar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 recipe pie crust (recipe here), rolled and fit into a 9-inch pie plate
1 (plus) cup pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes (or melt chocolate in microwave). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together (do not whisk) eggs, agave nectar, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stirring constantly, gradually add melted chocolate. Pour filling into prepared crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange pecans in one even layer over filling.
Bake just until set (filling should jiggle slightly when pie plate is tapped), 50 to 60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool completely on a wire rack, at least 4 hours (or up to overnight) before serving.

29 comments so far. »
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  1. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says on November 11 2010 at 7:50 pm:

    This is so gorgeous. I love the taste of agave so I’m glad to hear it works well in place of corn syrup. I just saw an article on The Kitchn about making your own invert sugar syrup to use in place of corn syrup, too.

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet says on November 11 2010 at 7:54 pm:

    Love that the agave worked. Good to know!

  3. Jennifer @ Jane Deere says on November 11 2010 at 7:59 pm:

    This looks sinfully good! Pecan Pie is my all-time favorite…and well…I’m a chocoholic! I can’t wait to try it!

  4. The Rowdy Chowgirl says on November 11 2010 at 8:44 pm:

    Have you successfully taken pie dough through airport security before? I remember seeing a woman who was being separated from her Amish Friendship Bread dough by TSA at Christmas once…it was quite a kerfuffle.

  5. Rachel says on November 12 2010 at 7:48 am:

    Beautiful pie and clever solution to the over-pied problem. It’s good to know that agave can be substituted for corn syrup. There’s so much corn syrup in the world, I hate to intentionally put it in my food.

  6. Kelly says on November 12 2010 at 8:02 am:

    Very interesting that agave works. I will have to try that next time. Was it a 1:1 swap?

    What a great idea to bring the pie crusts to the airport! Hope your flight is on time and have a great thanksgiving!

  7. Whitney says on November 12 2010 at 8:22 am:

    Pack your pie dough in one of those insulated bags and I bet you will be set!

  8. Amy says on November 12 2010 at 9:11 am:

    I *love* the idea of the agave nectar substitution, Kristin – great idea. (And those concentric pecan circles are a thing of beauty!) :)

  9. Tracey says on November 12 2010 at 12:59 pm:

    I love the concentric circles of pecans Kristin. They’re gorgeous! I’m sure this pie would be a welcome addition to just about any Thanksgiving.

  10. Karen says on November 12 2010 at 1:30 pm:

    So good to know that Agave can replace corn syrup! BTW, I have been able to take frozen things on flights in an insulated REI lunch bag or a small styrofoam cooler. I check it so I always add some frozen gel packs and things arrive frozen solid (6 hr flight Seattle-NYC). But in a carry-on it might be trickier since gel packs are probably banned.

  11. Whitney says on November 12 2010 at 1:35 pm:

    Oh! I made something similar last year in tiny tart form. Chocolate and Pecans just WORK.


  12. Beth says on November 12 2010 at 7:31 pm:

    It’s 9:30pm and now all I want is pie. And lots of it. Uh oh.

  13. LimeCake says on November 12 2010 at 8:51 pm:

    that is one darn delicious pecan pie! can never have too many pies!

  14. diane says on November 13 2010 at 8:20 am:

    Bravo! Crisis averted and we can proceed with the fun…I actually think I will prefer the combo, hope Ali is on board..Love, MOM

  15. Monica h says on November 14 2010 at 8:05 pm:

    Chocolate pecan pie is our family favorite. Actually, it’s my husband’s fave! I still love the regular ol’ pecan pie so I added chocolate chips to the bottom then add the filling on top. I get gooey and he gets chocolate. so good!

    Your pie is beautiful!

  16. Barbara says on November 15 2010 at 7:00 am:

    Oh yeah! Great pie solution Kristin! And that is one gorgeous pie too! Super photos. Nice to know agave works as a sub.

  17. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) says on November 15 2010 at 7:34 am:

    That pie looks gorgoeus. Love how you arranged the pecans. 3 pies sounds awesome, wish I could eat some of them too :(

  18. Alicia says on November 16 2010 at 3:03 pm:

    I love Thanksgiving recipes that are twists on the classics. This looks like a must-try!

  19. Sagan says on November 16 2010 at 6:01 pm:

    I’ve never had pecan pie.

    Must try this!

  20. Rena says on November 17 2010 at 10:25 am:

    I just opened up today’s Dining section in the NY Times and I thought at first that they used your beautiful photo!

  21. Janet says on November 17 2010 at 9:17 pm:

    Love your blog Kristin. Your recipes are great and I really enjoy the photos too. May your holiday travels be smooth—Hi to your mom, Ali and Ren.

  22. Food Blog Digest – Goin’ Nuts | FriendsEAT.com says on November 18 2010 at 7:13 am:

    [...] The Kitchen Sink – Chocolate Pecan Pie [...]

  23. jodye @ 'scend food says on November 18 2010 at 9:39 am:

    Alright, so Trader Joe’s definitely had a chocolate pecan pie out around this time last year, but yours looks infinitely better, and it comes with a recipe! I’ll certainly be making this for the holidays

  24. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on November 20 2010 at 6:23 am:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Kelly: Sorry for the delayed response. Yes, it was a 1:1 substitution. Next time, I might go 75% agave and 25% maple.

    Rena: I have to admit I did a double-take too! (I think b/c I had this pie on the brain … )

    Janet: Hello! Thanks for your note! Glad to know that you’re reading. I’ll send along your hello’s to my family. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours.

  25. Jessica says on November 24 2010 at 4:46 pm:

    Hello! I’ve never commented before but I’ve been reading for a while.

    I’m going to make this pie for our Thanksgiving dinner with my fiance’s family and I’m keeping it a secret that I’m using agave. I was only able to find Agave syrup in the grocery store, is that what you used? Small towns are terrible with stocking other options! Thanks!

  26. Leslie says on November 24 2010 at 6:06 pm:

    This pie is stunning to look at and I’m sure it was amazing to eat. I’ll be duplicating this recipe soon. Happy Thanksgiving.
    Cheers! Leslie

  27. heather @ chiknpastry says on November 30 2010 at 8:33 am:

    so how did the moving of dough work out?

    i might have to try this – i’m not tired of pecan pie even after thanksgiving.

    i’ve had the corn syrup issue happen to me befor at WF – apparently they just never carry it, but it sounds like the agave/maple worked well, and is most definitely better for ya anyway!!

  28. Mary says on November 30 2010 at 3:24 pm:

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and wanted to let you know that I made this for Thanksgiving and it was fantastic- super delish and relatively easy once I got over the whole “making a pie crust” thing. Thanks for the recipe!

    p.s. trying your oven fries tonight- and last week I made your peanut butter blondies. I think your recipe index and I are going to get quite chummy during the winter months when there is nothing better to do but cook and eat.

  29. retro sweets says on December 02 2010 at 3:59 am:

    Just so wonderful! Thanks for informing me about the agave. I never knew they’re great substitutes. Nice blog! Expect me to come back. :)

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