Part pecan pie, part brownie and most similar to chocolate chess pie: an all-butter pie crust, brown butter gooey chocolatey
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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I made this pie today with the chocolate crust instead of this light crust. It was a hit! I had baked the chocolate crust a few months back because it looked incredible!l, but I didn’t have time to make a filling and finish it, so I left it in the freezer. Today I had visitors and didn’t have time to make something from scratch and I remembered the chocolate crust. I made the filling of this recipe, brown butter and my favorite nut. I was worried that it might be too chocolaty since cocoa is in everything! It was perfect! Highly recommended together…
think the chopped chocolate in the filling was
This is the second year I’ve made this pie for Thanksgiving and it’s always a huge hit! If you’re like me, typical thanksgiving desserts are a little lacking in chocolate, and this brings chocolate to thanksgiving! The chocolate meringue is an incredible touch!
how much vanilla for the meringue?
about a teaspoon or two if you are using pure extract but you can also scrape a vanilla bean
I made this brown butter chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving this year. It was my first forage into brown butter territory and I think I did it right, ;)! It was a big success and my husband said it tasted like a brownie in a pie. Exactly as described! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and step by step instructions and pictures! So appreciated.
We made this pie for our special Christmas dessert this past year, and WOW! I was definitely nervous to make my *first ever* meringue, but the instructions were very clear & it went great – not to mention that the pie taste absolutely delicious. Definitely one of my prouder baking moments 🙂 great recipe!
Lauren, that’s so awesome this was your first meringue! So happy it was a success for you!
I just saw this posted on IG and you mentioned a marshmallow topping. Could you send it to me or tell me where to find. I searched your site w/no luck.
Stephanie, marshmallow = meringue. You see it in most of the photos on this page and under ‘chocolate meringue topping’, it’s in the recipe card as well.
I made this for Thanksgiving this past year and it was such a hit! It almost didn’t make it to the table because I seriously thought I was going to eat all the batter before it went into the oven. The recipe is perfectly balanced in richness and sweetness.
Nus, that’s so great to hear! And lol, re: eating the batter – I thought I was the only one who did this!
I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! The crust turned out perfectly flaky. The chocolate pecan filling was rich and fudgey. I am looking forward to making this again for Christmas!
Caitlin, that’s so awesome it was at your thanksgiving table! So excited for you to make it again 😀 Thank you!
I tried them last week! The pie turned out to be amazing and soo delicious! But my meringue was watery☹️ And i wasn’t able to fix it
Sarine, sorry about the meringue! I wonder if it was beat long enough? I find that when I use a hand mixer the meringue takes quite awhile to get to stiff peaks (at least 12 minutes) whereas if I use a stand mixer it will be done in 7.
Made this for thanksgiving (filling and merengue only- I wanted to try a different pie crust recipe) and while it was delicious in the end, it kind of feels like just a brownie baked into a pie crust. I was hoping for a less firm, more pecan pie style with lots of chocolate. I would definitely still make this again, just lose the crust and turn it into brownies instead. The merengue recipe however was perfect as is and so easy to follow! Great idea to make it chocolate!
Rachel, I’m glad to hear that you really liked it but sorry it wasn’t the pecan pie you sought! It is definitely more of a brownie/chocolate chess pie, I tried to show that in the photos of the slices and my description in the text but perhaps it needs more emphasis. Thank you for the comment.
Made this today. Big hit with the family! Looked really pretty and tasted amazing. Would definitely make again. Appreciated the pictures of each step. I find that super helpful.
Candice, that’s awesome to hear! So glad those photos helped – trying to do more of that with forthcoming recipes.
This was delicious! And the meringue was so simple!! A must make!
So good to know Laura! Thank you =)
This beautiful pie was the star of my thanksgiving table. Delicious and so so chocolately, it was a huge hit! It was my first time ever making a pie or a pie crust and I was very intimidated by the process, but it turned out phenomenally!
Val, that is so so wonderful to hear! I am impressed it was your first time, sounds like you’ve got talent!