Dark chocolate and a splash of bourbon add body to the pecans in this Thanksgiving pie recipe from chef Kelly Fields of Willa Jean in New Orleans.
For the crust:
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 oz.) frozen unsalted butter, grated on the large holes of a box grater and re-frozen
- 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar mixed with ¼ cup ice water
For the filling:
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 4½ oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup Steen’s cane syrup
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. bourbon
Make the crust: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and beat on medium speed just until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the vinegar-water mixture, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture just comes together (you may not use all of the liquid). Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Press the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, then wrap it tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 1 month).
Lightly dust a work surface with flour, then using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough, rotating it a quarter turn every few rolls, into a ¼-inch-thick circle. Roll the dough around the rolling pin to lift and carefully unroll it into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Settle the dough into the plate without stretching it, then tuck the overhanging edges under, gently pinching all the way around to make an even rim. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges, allowing the crimp to extend up and over the edge of the pie plate a bit. (This will prevent the rim of the dough from collapsing during baking.) Freeze until completely firm, at least 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the center. Meanwhile, line the crust with a large sheet of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake, rotating once halfway through baking, until the edges are set and very light golden, 18–20 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights, and continue baking until the edges are light golden and the bottom no longer appears wet and doughy, 8–12 minutes more. Remove the crust from the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, toss together the pecans and chocolate, then sprinkle the mixture in the prepared pie shell and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cane syrup, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and bourbon, then pour the mixture over the pecans and chocolate. Place the pie on a flat, rimmed baking sheet; bake, rotating once halfway through, until the center is just set, 60–65 minutes. (If the edges begin to darken before the filling is set, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.) Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely, then cut into wedges and serve with ice cream, if desired. The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.