Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chocolate Pecan Pie

During my childhood, no summer was complete without a trip to Camp-of-the-Woods: a week of sandcastles, penny candy and, of course, the signature chocolate walnut pie. Chocolate walnut pie has since become a family favorite. I haven't made it in years, since the average recipe is predominantly sugar and corn syrup. The result, to paraphrase Debra Lynn Dadd, is something that tastes more like sugar than nuts.

So I took Debra's pecan pie recipe and ran with it. She recommended replacing the sugar and corn syrup with brown rice syrup and barley malt syrup. Brown rice syrup, produced by sprouting brown rice and boiling it down to a thick golden goo, is mostly maltose. In the sugar world, maltose takes the longest for the human body to absorb, which is all around better for blood sugar and insulin levels. For extra sweetness and flavor, I used maple syrup instead of barley malt syrup and halved the amount. I also added a half-cup of Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips and I must tell you - this pie is out of this world.

Choose whatever pastry crust recipe you like. There are so many pastry recipes out there it hardly makes sense for me to reproduce one here. I used 6 oz freshly ground soft white wheat, a combination of organic unsalted butter and lard totaling 4 oz, and a few splashes of creamy fresh milk. I accidentally left out the salt, which I don't advise. My recipe called for salted butter. They were right.

Here's the most important part:

The Filling
5 T (2.5 oz) butter
1 cup (8 oz) brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (2 oz) maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) chopped pecans
1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao dark chocolate chips or other delicious dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 8x8 square pan with your unbaked pastry shell of choice.
Melt the butter in a little saucepan over low heat. Turn off the heat, pour the butter into a medium mixing bowl and stir in syrups. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, beating until smooth. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour all into your prepared pie shell. You will notice that the chocolate chips try to cling to the bowl; scoop them out and sprinkle them evenly over the pie. They'll sink straight to the bottom anyway.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the filling is just set.

This pie is utterly fantastic. I would like to try it with even less sweetness and perhaps a touch more salt. I've got to admit it's pretty close to perfect as is.

1 comment:

My Year Without said...

This pecan pie looks delicious. I just found your blog and am delighted to look around and see that for the most part you use natural sweeteners in place of white sugar. Yeah!!!