The pecan pie to end all pecan pies.
This recipe, featured in our Thanksgiving 2023 menu, is the pecan pie to end all pecan pies from the self-admitted “recovering pastry chef” Amanda Rockman, Director of Culinary Projects for New Waterloo. There is no flaky pie crust here, instead you’ll find a dough that’s much like a chocolate shortbread cookie.
The filling is nuanced and complex, with hints of rye whiskey and puddles of dark chocolate—a far cry from the standard saccharine pecan pie. To top it all off, smoked (yes, smoked) vanilla whipped cream is piped onto the pie with a gentle dusting of more chocolate. This pie is a project, but totally worth the effort.
Glucose syrup, smoked vanilla extract, kappa carrageenan, and atomized chocolate can be found in specialty stores online. Please note the ingredient measurements are provided in grams for accuracy, so you will need a scale for this recipe.
Note: This recipe was developed using Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If using Morton’s, reduce salt by half.
The pecan pie to end all pecan pies.
Make the chocolate pie dough: Mix butter, salt, and powdered sugar in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together on a low speed until mixture is light in color and homogenous, scraping down paddle and bowl as needed. (You want to mix this on low speed because you are not trying to incorporate air, but rather just cream and combine together.)
Add eggs, a little at a time, scraping bowl and paddle as needed in order to evenly combine. Add all-purpose, almond, and cake flours and cocoa powder and mix until flours are completely incorporated, but do not overmix.
Form dough into a 1" thick rectangle and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; chill overnight in fridge.
Roll out dough with a Rolling Pin to a ¼" thick rectangle. Invert a Pie Dish and lay on top of dough. Use a Paring Knife to trace an outline 1" larger than Pie Dish. Turn Pie Dish right side up and carefully roll dough onto Rolling Pin, then unroll into Pie Dish. Working quickly, gently push dough into bottom of Pie Dish and up sides until everything is even and covered. Use thumbs to press dough firmly into bottom edge where base and side meet. Pinch and crimp dough as desired, trimming excess if necessary. Thoroughly dock dough with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours, or up to 2 days in advance in fridge (you can also freeze at this point).
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F (convection) or 350F (conventional). Spray dough with nonstick spray and line with a large coffee filter or parchment paper. Fill with baking rice or beans.
Bake until edges become matte, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and very carefully pull rice-filled coffee filter away from edges to see if bottom is par-baked. If coffee filter sticks, it means it's not ready to be removed yet. Remove filter and bake 10 minutes more. Allow to cool completely, about 2 hours.
Make the pie filling: Add glucose, butter, and light brown sugar to a 4 QT Stainless Saucepan and stir until melted and homogenous. Use an immersion blender to incorporate eggs, or whisk in very vigorously. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in rye. Let mixture come to room temperature (transferring to a bowl set over an ice bath can help speed this up), or transfer to an airtight container and chill in fridge up to 3 days in advance.
Make the smoked vanilla cream: Preheat smoker to 160-180F. Set vanilla bean into a Grill Frying Pan or small bed of foil and smoke for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool.
Whisk granulated sugar, salt, and kappa carrageenan together in a small bowl. Bring cream to a simmer and whisk in sugar mixture. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high for 1 minute, whisking to make sure cream does not scorch bottom. Transfer to a bowl set over an ice bath to cool, and then chill until very cold, or transfer to an airtight container and chill in fridge up to 3 days in advance.
Preheat oven to 350F (convection) or 375F (conventional). Toast pecans on a Sheet Pan, stirring once, until fragrant and lightly browned, 7–10 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.
Bake the pie: Preheat oven to 325F (convection) or 350F (conventional). Add pecans and chocolate chips to bottom of pie shell and mix with hands to combine. Pour filling into shell until about ¼” from top. Place Pie Dish on a Sheet Pan and bake until pie puffs , is light brown on top, and is set (no longer jiggles), 50–60 minutes. You’ll notice the chocolate has melted into visible puddles, like large chocolate chunks in a cookie, which is what you want! Remove from oven and brush with a little more rye. Let cool completely before serving, at least 4 hours.
To serve, whip smoked vanilla cream to hold stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe onto pie as desired and dust with atomized chocolate.