There is so much good stuff to say about this chocolate bourbon pecan pie, I almost don’t know where to begin. This is a pecan pie that is not overly sweet (like, not at all). It has a slightly gooey, deeply chocolate flavored, rich brown filling (from the cocoa powder and dark corn syrup) that pairs beautifully with the ultra flakey and uber-buttery crust. It includes a healthy glug of bourbon (I’m partial to the one produced by my neighborhood distillery) and a copious amount of toasted and roughly chopped pecans. It comes together quickly (no cooking of fillings) and might just end up with a permanent place at your Thanksgiving table.Funnily enough, although I have always loved pecan chocolate pie, I did not have a go-to one in my repertoire until now. The first pecan pie-like treats I made were pecan chocolate squares — bars of sorts, with cinnamon and honey, that I riffed on when developing pecan chocolate pie bars. And although quite tasty, when I set out to develop my own actual pecan pie recipe, I was leaning more towards tradition (i.e., nothing “spicy” and at least some corn syrup). Now, corn syrup is controversial (duh) and although I don’t mind somewhat cloyingly sweet sweets (yes, my palette is challenged) I know that I stand pretty much alone in that camp. However, when the pecan pie recon began, and I looked to my bookshelves for inspiration, I found that Dorrie Greenspan, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and Joanne Chang, to name only a few, ALL put corn syrup in their pecan pies, and I felt a bit better about my own intention to do so.Deciding on what kind of corn syrup — light or dark — required a little more research (which I did both thanks to Food and Wine and Nick Malgieris’ book, Pastry) leading me to conclude that dark corn syrup (or a mixture of light and dark) provides a more complex flavor (almost a molasses-y one) and thus produces a filling that is less (cloyingly) sweet than one made with only light corn syrup. Now, truth be told, I did attempt to scale back on the amount of corn syrup I used to appease the masses, but ended up scaling it back up (to appease me). To be fair, however, the recipe includes the option of scaling the amount of syrup up or down, depending on your sweetness threshold.Once the syrup issue was tackled, the rest of the recipe sort of fell effortlessly into place. I added a mixture of brown and granulated sugar (as per the Baked pecan pie bars that, back in the day, I used to so lovingly(ish) prepare); yolks in addition to eggs (cause that’s kind of my thing, as well as Rose Levy Beranbaum’s); bourbon, vanilla, and salt (no explanation needed); and, finally, the most important ingredient/addition to the recipe, the one that takes it completely over the top: cocoa powder (from the Beranbaum, the queen of pies and from Hershey’s — the actual creator of the one bowl chocolate cake, FYI). The cocoa powder adds beautiful color, amazing chocolate flavor (as is cocoa powder’s way) and counters the sweetness of the corn syrup like nobody’s business. The result? Probably one of the best pecan chocolate pies ever. And, if you want to make it as a slab pie, I have included directions for doing so (you’re welcome).
Deep-Dish Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie
- See pie crust recipe above
- 1/2 of one crust recipe if you'd like to make this a slab pie, use one full recipe
- For the filling double this if making a slab pie, save for the eggs and yolks: use 5 eggs and 5 yolks for a slab pie
- 2 1/2 cups pecans deeply toasted
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 yolks room temperature
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp bourbon or to taste
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and warm
- 6 Tbsp dutch process cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out into a round an inch or two larger than your 9-inch pie plate. Place the dough in the plate and decoratively crimp the edges. Place in the freezer for an hour.
- Chop two cups of the pecans pretty finely, and set aside. The half cup of pecans is for decorating.
- In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and yolks. Add the two corn syrups, sugars, and salt. Whisk again. Add the bourbon and vanilla, and whisk. Combine the melted butter and cocoa powder in a small bowl, and add this mixture to the sugar and eggs. Whisk again to insure all of the filling ingredients are incorporated.
- Scatter the two cups of chopped pecans on the bottom of your crust. Pour the filling over the nuts.
- Decorate the top of the pie with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts, gently resting them on the filling in a pattern.
- Bake the pie for 45 to 55 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the filling is puffy and set, but the center still jiggles.
- Let the pie come to room temperature before serving. The pie will keep, covered in plastic wrap and at room temperature, for up to three days.