Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving is next week so, let's talk turkey!

OK, actually let's talk pecan pie!

Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie!!!!

I learned how to make pecan pie when I was in junior high. It was my Dad's favorite kind of pie during the holidays but, my Mom doesn't like nuts so she didn't make it. If we ever had one, it was bought from the store. One year I decided to figure out how to bake it. It's really not that hard. My Dad said that my first attempt was the best pecan pie he'd ever had. I think that's really sayin' something because my Grammy (his Mom) is a great cook! I've made this pie every year since Dave and I got married.

It's taken some tweaking to figure out how I like it best. It turns out, my favorite variation involves milk chocolate chips. At this point, I figure that it's too good to NOT share!

I want to preface this by saying one thing. You can TOTALLY "cheat" and use the refrigerated crusts that the grocery store sells (the kind you unroll... NOT the frozen ones.) I don't. I like making the pastry. I think it's fun and it's really NOT hard. The ones you make yourself taste a LOT better too. The only recommendation I'd make is DON'T use the graham crackery (ie. NOT in the fridge section of the grocery store) kind of crust. I know people who've done that and the result is gross. Never wreck a great filling with a bad pastry. That sort of crust is alright when you're talking about pies that are served chilled (think cheesecake or french silk) but, NOT OK for pecan pie ok?

Let's start with the recipe for the pastry! You can use it for all kinds other pies (Pumpkin anyone?!) so, keep this one handy!

Pastry for Single Crust Pie

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup shortening (butter flavored Crisco works the BEST!)
4 to 5 Tbsp cold water

1. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea size. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, a couple butter knives works just as well!)


This is a pastry blender. This particular one costs about $4
That's not pricey! It's worth getting one if you like making pastries!
 2. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened pastry to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening pastry flour mixture, using 1 Tbsp of water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Form pastry into a ball. (Think PlayDoh! And don't rush this part. Getting this part right will make this pie to die for!)

 3. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

 4. Wrap pastry around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9 inch pie plate. Ease into pie plate without stretching it. (Be careful! Keeping it even and not stretching it will ensure even baking and keep your slices prettier!)

 5. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Do not prick pastry.(If you use a refrigerated crust, you DO have to prick holes in the bottom!) Fill and bake as directed in all recipes.
 
 
OK now we're gettin' to the good stuff!
 
Milk Chocolate Pecan Pie
1 Single Crust Pie (Again, the Pillsbury ones work well but, I like to make it myself. Don't be intimidated. TRY IT!)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup light-colored corn syrup
2/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup butter, melted
3 tsp. vanilla (Use real vanilla not imitation!)
1 1/4 Cup pecan halves (Don't chop/crush them! Leave them halved!)
1/2 Cup milk chocolate pieces (Use Hershey’s! Don't even try to tell me that other brands taste the same cuz they totally DON'T. And double check that you're using MILK CHOCOLATE and not SEMI-SWEET. It's NOT the same!)
 
1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare and roll out pie crust. Line a 9 inch pie plate with the pastry circle and trim. Crimp edges as desired. (Be creative! There are some pretty crust embellishing techniques for the edges. Find one you really like and practice.)
 
2. For filling, in a medium bowl combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in pecan halves.
 
3. Press 1/2 Cup milk chocolate pieces into the bottom of the pastry.
 
4. Place the pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Carefully pour the filling into the pastry shell. (This is to keep you from spilling on the counter AND from having to pick up a really liquidy pie and carry it across the the kitchen to your oven and spilling all over the floor. Filling your pie while it's sitting on the rack is the new black!) To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. (Be careful not to mess up your edges!) Bake about 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center come out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill within 2 hours.
 
 
pitchable pie tins fold up and lose shape. You can get a good Pyrex one for under $10 and it'll last forever! Trust me, you're gonna want to make this pie every year for Thanksgiving. So, take the money you'd spend on the throw-aways and get a good pie plate that you'll use for the rest of your life! DO follow the directions about filling it when the pie plate is sitting on the rack in the oven. Those racks slide out for a reason! Use 'em!
 
******These two recipes are adapted from The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook... meaning I do things a little differently than they would but, we're still basically following their directions. The commentary in italics is my own.******
 
 

13 comments:

  1. The kitchen staff at my college made it with semi-sweet chocolate chips. I ate so many pieces, I almost got sick at a student government meeting. Worth it.

    I have made my own whole wheat crusts before when we had huge blackberry bushes in our field. I've been lazy since then.

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  2. Oh man... as sick as it sounds, eating chocolate pecan pie until you feel ill almost sounds like a good idea! ha ha!
    And I need a good blackberry pie/tart recipe. We've got blackberry bushes in our woods and it'd be great to do something more fun with them. The kids pick 'em and just sit around eating them plain all summer!

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  3. I never thought about filling it on the oven rack. Prob bc I try to get stuff in and out of the oven so quickly so my kids don't become Hansel and Gretel

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  4. @Liz... you are too funny! Somethings are worth slowing down for... and this pie is one of 'em! Just contain the smaller people... maybe occupy them with Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving! ha ha!

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  5. That sounds delish! We keep trying new holiday treats each year. Last year, Hubs made the kids some cookies with a GFCF flour mix package and at the last second decided to make an apple pie filling and use the leftover cookie dough around it to make an apple cookie tart of sorts....came out really good. We've done a GFCF pumpkin pie...but that one could use some work. Not sure what we're trying this year. But, now you've got me thinking turkey and the desert that follows! :>

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  6. How is it next week already???? Where has this month gone???? NO!!!!! Ok I'm better now. More calm. I LOVE Pecan Pie. I can't make it because of a severe nut allergy but oh if I could sneak a slice of that someone where I so would. :)

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  7. @Karen... if I had a really good GFCF recipe, I'd totally share it. The apple cookie tart sounds REALLY good!

    @Amber... I KNOW! I cannot believe that it's already time to get serious about Thanksgiving. Where has time gone?!
    My childhood BFF had a gnarly peanut allergy. I always felt bad for her because so many candies and sweet things have nuts... or are cooked in peanut oil, etc. There were lots fewer options back in the late 80's for kiddos with allergies! I hope you find something awesome that works with yours!

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  8. @Mamamash.com... Dude... do it. I am. Let me peer pressure you into pecan awesomeness!!! :)

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  9. I never did pie crust myself, but this sounds really easy, I should try. Do you think it's going to leak if I fill it with fruits?

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  10. @ Mommy's Paradise... you can ABSOLUTELY fill it with fruit. Keeping a fruit pie chilled and not having the filling very liquidy to begin with is half the battle of leaky fruit pies. This crust is great for keeping the leaks to a minimum... especially if you follow the directions about NOT poking holes in the pastry before you bake it!

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  11. I'm not a huge fan of pecans, but admittedly this sounds good.

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  12. Oh my scrumdiddlyumptious!! My husband and son would go ape over this! I L.O.V.E. to make my pie crusts with butter vs. shortening; so IF I did go the scratch crust route I'd definitely make the crust with yummy butter! Like Paula Deen would say... Butter makes everything taste better, Darlin! ;)

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