Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Celebrate the Holidays Southern Style...With Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie

I have two words for you today: pecan pie. In many parts of the south, it’s simply not the holiday season without a pecan pie being served! When I went home for Thanksgiving, my Daddy sent a bag of gorgeous, plump pecan halves back to San Antonio with me. His only request? Bake him a pecan pie when he came to visit us the next week. I agreed, then started searching for a killer recipe. Confession time: until I made this pie, I had never baked a pie before. Sure, I’ve make tons of no-bake pies with graham cracker crusts over the years…but homemade pie crust is one of those food items that still intimidates me. 

I knew myself well enough to not attempt to tackle homemade pie crust on a work night when I was making this pie especially for my Daddy, so I used a good-quality store-bought crust. The rest of the pie was 100% homemade…and pretty darn good to boot! Pecan pie is sticky sweet and yummy on it's own, but I upped the ante just a bit. I added a bit of Wild Turkey bourbon and chocolate chips to the basic pecan pie recipe. With only a few simple staple ingredients, this pie was a super-easy recipe to whip up after work just in time for dessert that night. And the store-bought pie crust? It browned nicely and tasted really good. I’ll eventually try my hand at homemade pie crust…baby steps...just not this time! 

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie
adapted from Southern Living

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: 4 large eggs, 1 cup light corn syrup, 6 tbs. melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup bourbon, 1 tbs. flour, 1 tbs. vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk together to combine. Stir in 1 cup pecan halves and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Step 2:  Pour the filling into a 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie crust. I used Pillsbury, and it came out golden and flaky! Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips on top of the pie. Place the pie on a baking sheet just in case you have bubble-over. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until set. If you notice your crust is browning too quickly, place strips of foil over the edge of the crust to prevent it from overcooking. I did this about 4o minutes into the baking, and my crust turned out perfectly golden. Cool completely before slicing. See how pretty it is?

Step 3:  When you're ready to serve the pie, wet a sharp serrated knife and cut into wedges. The filling is pretty sticky, so it can be hard to get pretty edges...it was for me, but it still tasted amazing. Take a look at all that chocolatey pecan goodness!

This pie is rich and very sweet, so you should be able to get at least six servings. I served each slice of pie with a bit of whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream...preferably Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla...would be an extra-indulgent partner to this pie. 

If you’re not a huge chocoholic…shame on you…you can easily reduce the amount of chocolate chips by half. The chocolate-pecan combo was perfect for me, but Michael is a bit of a pecan pie purist and prefers it without the chocolate. We all agreed on one thing: the addition of a little bourbon gave the filling that "little something extra." It's not the least bit overpowering, but you know it's there. If you're feeling extra daring, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of bourbon to your cream before whipping...that would be over-the-top good!

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