Sunday, December 25, 2011

Life is Like That From Time-to-Time

It’s Christmas Day.  It may seem unusual that I have chosen to write a blog post today of all days.  Let me begin by saying that it has been an especially busy quarter. The demands of my day job have left little time for doing anything other than working and sleeping.  (Life is like that from time-to-time.)

Bella is off “doing tree” with her other family, and DH and I are grateful for the quiet solitude of this Christmas Day.  Unlike Chistmases past we will not be having 30 people for dinner.  DH and I sit here companionably, waiting for Bella to return, listening to French Carols, reading and watching the gently falling snow through our living room windows.  I find myself, for the first time in many months with leisure time. It is glorious and I can’t think of a better way to spend my first leisure moments in months than to write a blog post.

We had a houseful for Thanksgiving.  Family from away and family from just up the road a piece gathered here to celebrate this most American of holidays. While planning out the day’s menu, Bella and I decided to try and keep it as simple as possible—including the desserts.  Thanksgiving would be incomplete without a pie or two, but they needed to be quick and easy.  That led us to Dutch Apple Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie, two absolute family favorites. 

The Chocolate Pecan Pie is based on a recipe I ripped from a magazine eons ago.  Like 99.9% of the recipes I use, it has been altered from the original.  So, here it is—Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Notes for this recipe:  Use the best quality bittersweet choclate you can find.  (Belgian Callebaut is my chocolate of choice.)  The pie crust can be made a day in advance, wrapped and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll it out.  The pie can be made two days in advance. To store, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.  If you choose to serve whipped cream with your pie, organic heavy cream provides the best flavor and texture.  Add just a splash of vanilla to enhance the flavor.

1 single pie crust (click here for my pie crust recipe)

8 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped--divided
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1-1/2 c. pecan halves
Whipped cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place the butter and 4 ounces of the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.  (Be sure the water is not touching the bottom of the top pan.)  While the chocolate and butter are melting, line a 9 inch pie plate with the dough.  Trim, and flute the edge high.  Set aside.  When the chocolate is melted, stir with a rubber spatula to smooth it out.  Remove the bowl to the counter to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the filling.

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat lightly with a fork.  Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the prepared pie crust.  To the beaten eggs, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.  Add the vanilla and corn syrup, mix well.  Add the slightly cooled, melted chocolate, stir to combine.

Next, stir in the remaining 4 ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate and the pecan halves, stirring to combine.  Scrape into the prepared pie crust. 

Place in the preheated oven and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until a  knife inserted about halfway between the edge and center of the pie comes clean. 

Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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