Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Frankly, My Dear . . . "

Song Pairing:
Have A Cigar by Pink Floyd
Sometimes these song choices pick me.  They sneak up behind me and patiently tap me on the shoulder until I turn and say, "What!"  That's how this one made it here today.  In my entire preparation for this post on Pecan Pie I couldn't shake an unmistakable masculine presence.  Pecan Pie is masculine?  I'd never thought of pies in a gender-biased way before.  Most desserts would probably be considered feminine - all frilly and fluff.  But Pecan Pie - well, now, that's a different story.  I picture a room full of men in a study, patches on their elbows, smoking their pipes and cigars - and they won't be eating apple or cherry pie.  They'll be eating Pecan Pie - with a shot of bourbon in it - and maybe some chocolate - just like this one. . .  

If I had been given the chance to direct a scene in "Gone With the Wind" (this is a realistic post today, folks) I would stage Rhett's intro to the film in this manner:

Ashley Wilkes and his neighborhood gentlemen would be in the library at Twelve Oaks, talking politics.  The doors to the library are open to encourage a breeze throughout the room.  Suddenly, you hear that funk and groove riff intro of Have A Cigar and you know something memorable is about to happen.  The men sense an approach and stop talking and turn to face the door.  And just when the drums and keyboard kick in, Rhett Butler appears through the doorway from the shadows, cigar in his right hand, and a plate with a piece of my pecan pie on the other, fork tucked into his vest pocket.  He makes a draw from his cigar, exhales, smoke circling his quizzical brow and says:

Rhett: "Hello, gentlemen.  Which one of you is Pink?"

No! No! No!  I'm only kidding on that last part!  I couldn't resist!  Had Rhett Butler been around when Pink Floyd was, he most definitely would NOT have made the same mistake as the moron talked about in the song.  He would more likely have made mention as to what a delicious pie he was enjoying!  Ahem . . .

We get many lovely things from the South - Margaret Mitchell and her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, "Gone With the Wind," Harry Connick, Jr., and gumbo, to name a few.  But today I want to feature the lovely pecan.  Our southern states provide about 90% of the world's supply of pecans!  Whether you say it "pe-cahn" or "pe-can," you have to love this nut's versatility.  A super healthy nut, it can be served both savory and sweet - and, right up there with almonds - it's one of the nuts I use most in my kitchen.

Have A Cigar talks about the people who surround you when you become famous, pretending to know you and be your biggest fan and friend, while, in reality, they're just interested in "riding the gravy train." You may think you know what my pecan pie is all about but there's a good chance you don't!  

In the dark corn syrup vs. light corn syrup options, I've taken the dark side (teehee, Floyd fans will get it.)  This recipe calls for quite a bit less sugar than most, which I'm going to pretend makes it super healthy!  I've seen some pecan pie recipes call for sprinkling chocolate bits on the bottom with the pecans but I've decided to paint the inside of my pie shell with a chocolate ganache.  This way, you'll get a perfect balance of chocolate and pecan with every bite.  And the bourbon?  Just happened to have some left over from another recipe.  I wasn't sure if Southern Comfort goes bad, but I threw in a tiny bit to tweak the flavors and to use it up.  To top it all off, I whipped up some heavy cream with a little sugar and a pinch of ground cloves.  And, that, people, makes for a chart buster!  

Would you indulge me a moment to send a shout-out "Happy Birthday" to Chef Jay, one of my instructors from culinary school.  He loves both Pink Floyd AND pecan pie - and he's one of the nicest guys I know!

Pecan Pie with Chocolate and Bourbon
Printable Recipe Card
Single Crust Pie Dough:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. cold shortening or butter or a mix of both
4 - 5 T. very cold water

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor bowl and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the cold shortening in bits the size of a tablespoon.  Pulse a few times until it resembles large marbles.  Add half of the cold water and pulse a few times.  Slowly add enough of the rest of the water, pulsing, until the dough just leaves the side of the bowl.  Turn out onto plastic wrap, wrap securely, and chill for at least half an hour.

Make the pecan filling:
2 T. flour
1 T. sugar
10 oz. dark corn syrup
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. bourbon
1 1/2 c. pecan halves

Stir the flour and sugar together until well combined.  Add the dark corn syrup and stir well.  Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, melted butter, and bourbon and stir until well combined.

Chocolate Ganache:
1 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. half and half or cream (I used fat free half and half and it worked fine)

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat the half and half or cream in a microwaveable cup for about 20 seconds or until very hot.  Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for a couple minutes.  Stir until chocolate melts.  If necessary, put in the microwave again for another 10 - 15 seconds.  Stir.  Take care not to burn the chocolate.

Assembly -

Roll the pie dough to a circle on a well-floured surface until it is about two inches larger than the pie plate.  Carefully fold in half and gently lift and place in a pie plate and unfold.  Adjust it so it is evenly centered.  Trim the dough using kitchen shears, leaving one inch of overhang.  Fold and tuck under the overhang all around the pie plate.  Pinch the crust or use a fork to build a crust edge.

Using a pastry brush, brush the insides of the pie shell with the chocolate mixture.

Be sure to get up the sides

Go ahead and give it a nice thick coat (but save a little for garnishing) then pop it into the freezer for a few minutes to help it set up.

Add 1 1/2 c. pecan halves

Stir the corn syrup mixture again and pour over the top of the pecans.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25 - 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool, drizzle with any leftover chocolate, and serve with whipped cream.


  1. LOL. You are so clever! And painting a pie shell with ganache... someone should make you sit in the corner. :)

  2. OH- you had me at hello!!! PECANS!! ;-)

  3. I might need to add this to the menu for Thanksgiving!

  4. Just an update - it tastes even BETTER on day two. I'll get back to you about day three!