The holidays are coming! My favorite part of getting ready for the holidays has to be baking. I’m happy to share my favorite recipe, a chocolate espresso pecan pie, with you here. It is, just as the title implies, a pecan pie made more decadent, yet less cloyingly sweet, with dark chocolate, espresso and cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are 100% chocolate, in its raw and natural state. They are crunchy, slightly bitter and remind me vaguely of fresh peanuts. I’ve made this pie at least half a dozen times and it never disappoints! Serve with fresh whipped cream, a cup of black coffee, and you have my perfect dessert.
This year, while transcribing the recipe for the chocolate espresso pecan pie, I decided to research alternatives to the original recipe’s suggestion of corn syrup. Apparently in Louisiana, cane syrup is considered traditional in pecan pies. Others have also used maple syrup and honey. I think using brown sugar plus a little bit of liquid would give a great flavor, complementing the pecans. I will probably end up using the same as last year: a mix of brown rice syrup and organic, non-GMO, corn syrup.
Update (1/2/13): I made the pie again for Christmas with honey in place of the corn syrup. I highly recommend warming up the honey until it is liquid, and even watering it down a little, before adding it in. If not, thick honey will be hard to mix by hand. I personally felt like I could taste the honey, but my family liked it, and some even preferred it.
Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie Recipe
Recipe adapted minimally “Chocolate Espresso Pecan Tart” from Evan Kleinman of KCRW’s Good Food
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked all butter pie crust (recipe follows)
- 6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into chunks
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup brown rice syrup, homemade cane syrup, honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon Trablit Coffee Extract
- 1 1/4 cups pecans
- 1/4 cup Cocoa Nibs
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Scatter the chunks of chocolate over the pie crust.
In a medium bowl with fork beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, syrup, butter and coffee extract and stir until blended. Stir in pecans and Cocoa Nibs. Pour into pie crust.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
I sometimes brush the bottom of the uncooked crust with a little egg white, just before filling. I also keep the crust, once it is in the dish, in the fridge up until the last minute, to keep the butter in it cold. (The chunks of butter are what create flakes!)
All Butter Pie Crust Recipe
Makes a double crust. Since the chocolate espresso pecan pie only needs a bottom crust, use the other half for a quiche, a pumpkin pie or freeze for an easy pie crust in the future. From The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook via eggbeater.
- 2 Cups all purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons sugar (optional, I usually omit)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- ice water, to incorporate
Cube butter evenly and freeze. Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid mixer. When butter is frozen, use paddle attachment with mixer on the very lowest setting, and drop butter in a few pieces at a time. Stay close by. Put ice and cold water in a measuring cup. When the chunks of butter are slightly larger than pea size, dribble in the ice water until dough does not appear dry and JUST begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a dry surface and push together with the heel of your hand. Try not to knead or overwork the dough, you want it to come together so you can roll it out. This dough can be used right away! This amount makes enough for a top and a bottom. If you are not going to use it right away, double wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to a month.