Part pecan pie, part brownie and most similar to chocolate chess pie: an all-butter pie crust, brown butter gooey chocolatey bottom studded with crunchy pecans and dark chocolate.
Let’s talk layers: a flaky, all butter pie crust, a chocolatey, nutty brownie-like filling that tastes like chocolate and brown butter (NOT an easy feat!) and finally, a storm of chocolate marshmallow, in a soft fluffy meringue form. THIS is the only pie you want for the holidays.
I based my recipe off of this wildly popular salted caramel chocolate pecan pie but made some major changes. I made my own crust, I may be crap at shaping pie crust (see pics!) but nothing beats a homemade pie crust. I par-bake it so that the bottom becomes crispy, rather than doughy. I browned the butter to get that deliciously nutty taste into the filling and it paid off in mounds. You cannot always taste the brown butter in very chocolatey desserts because the chocolate overpowers, but you absolutely can in this – it lingers after the chocolate hits your tongue and it’ll make you come back for more, and more.
I believe there’s an older tradition of using shortening in crust but I’ve always done all butter. My favorite pie crust recipe comes from Ovenly, it’s a simple, direct dough that leads to very flaky tasty pie. You’ll only need: flour, butter and salt.
In my trials, it quickly became clear I had forgotten all my crust shaping skills (I only use them around the holidays!). I picked up a few tips while recipe testing this and hopefully they will help you when you make yours:
While my crust is blind baking (or par-baking), I make the filling and spoon it in as soon as soon as the crust is ready, then return it to the oven.
This is really the star of this show, there is SO much flavor in the filling. It’s a lot like a brownie, but it’s gooier even after the bake and the taste is more varied: the brown butter, the flaky sea salt, the caramel notes from brown sugar… all of it comes through in every single bite.
This pie is supposed to be gooey! If you cut it when warm, the filling will spill out like a warm chocolate molten cake. When it sets, it retains it’s soft texture and is a lot like fudge. No good pie holds perfect shape, you can quote me on that.
If you like, you can stop here and you’ll have a gorgeous, absolutely delicious pie. If it’s a holiday, I like to go a little over the top for my dessert table and so I’m giving you the option of a fluffy meringue which works so well here. Since the pie is dark and rich, made with bittersweet chocolate and since we’ve left out a lot of the usual culprits that make pecan pie cloying and tooth-aching sweet, a gentle topping really rounds the whole pie out in both flavor and texture. Also, you get to torch it (!) and somehow now we kind of have a double chocolate s’mores pie!!!
This is an Italian style meringue: the sugar is combined with water, cooked until the ‘candy’ point and then slowly poured into the egg whites as they are whipping.
The meringue needs to whip for a while, you want a white, glossy fluff that holds shape when the whisk is turned upside down.
We’ll add the cocoa at the very end, and fold it in with a spatula – this is to avoid breaking the meringue we’ve just whipped to perfection. Sift the cocoa over the meringue so that you don’t deflate it and then carefully fold to incorporate. There might be little specks of cocoa which resist the folds but those will disappear into the meringue after awhile so don’t fuss to get a perfectly smooth meringue.
The result? A FLOOFY chocolatey pie topping. It’s kind of like a giant gently sweetened marshmallow and because of it our pie is half a s’mores pie and half chocolate pecan and all the better for it!
Pecan Caramel: Arrange a thick layer of pecans over the pie after it has baked. Make this apple cider caramel and pour the caramel over the pecans. The caramel holds the pecans in place. You do this ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
Whipped Cream: I’d make this right before I planned to serve the pie or minimum a few hours before (stored in the fridge). With a hand mixer, whip 1 cup heavy cream with 1-2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to soft peaks.
Ice cream: A good vanilla ice cream would taste great here. Something that’s not overly sweet and won’t get in the way of tasting the pie filling.
Note: the pie crust recipe makes more than you’ll need for this pie. Half of it will be used for the bottom of the crust, 1/4 can be used to shape the edges in an attractive way. You’ll likely have 1/4 of the dough left for another use.
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