Pecan pie can be awfully sweet. Magpie’s rendition of this classic retains the beloved sticky goo but incorporates coffee, cinnamon, and bittersweet chocolate to dial down the cloying sweetness and emphasize the euphoric flavor of the pecans.
Roll, pan, and flute the dough, then parbake the crust. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the shell completely to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the corn syrup and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Slowly beat in the butter, then add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth and foamy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and continue blending until the mixture is thick and frothy.
Rap the bowl against the counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles that might have formed beneath the surface. (Otherwise the bubbles can rise and burst during baking and cause pockmarking across the top of the filling.)
Set the pie pan on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Layer the pecans and chocolate across the bottom of the cooled parbaked crust. Top with the filling, spreading evenly.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the pie at 400°F (200°C) for 15 minutes, then rotate the pie, lower the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C), and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the middle and the edges of the filling are puffed and the top is beautifully browned and no longer jiggles when tapped.
Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the pie completely to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight (at least 12 hours and up to 3 days) before cutting and serving with vanilla or maple bourbon ice cream.
Note: At the shop we’ve found that chilling the pie before slicing with a serrated knife makes it easier to get nice tidy slices.
Single Crust Pie Shell
Makes 1 (9-inch / 23-cm) piecrust
Lightly flour a smooth work surface and a rolling pin.
Take a chilled disk of dough out of the fridge. Give it a couple of firm squeezes just to say hello, then unwrap it and set it on the floured work surface.
Set the pin crosswise on the dough and press down firmly, making a nice deep channel across the full width of the disk. Turn the disk 180 degrees and repeat, making a second indentation, forming a plus sign.
Use your rolling pin to press down each of the wedges, turning the dough 45 degrees each time. This will give you the beginnings of a thick circle.
Now, rolling from the center outward and rotating the dough a quarter turn to maintain a circular shape, roll the dough out to a 13-inch circle with an even thickness of 1/4 inch.
Set your 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan alongside the circle of dough. Brush off any loose flour, carefully fold the dough circle in half, transfer it to the pan, and unfold.
At this point the dough will be lying across rather than fitted into the pan. Now, without stretching the dough, set the dough down into the pan so that it is flush up against the sides and bottom. The best way to do this is to gingerly lift the dough and gently shift it around so that it settles into the pan bit by bit. Use a very light touch to help cozy it in.
To flute the edge, fold the overhang under to form a 1-inch wall that rests on the lip of the pan with the seam slightly below the pan’s top edge. Go around the edge of the pan and use a very light touch to firm up the wall to an even thickness from the bottom to the top and all the way around. Flute the edge of the crust at about 1-inch intervals, pressing from the inside with the knuckle of your index finger while supporting on the outside with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand. Don’t pinch the dough, you want the flute to look like a thick rope.
Transfer the crust to the refrigerator to chill while you make your filling or to the freezer to prepare it for prebaking (see the next page). Alternatively, at this point the crust can be covered tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days or double-wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months (defrost overnight in the refrigerator before filling and baking or prebaking, or at room temperature for 30 minutes).
To prebake the shell, chill the panned, fluted piecrust in the freezer until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut an additional 13 x 13-inch square of parchment.
Set the pan on the lined baking sheet. Set the square of parchment in the pie shell and gently smooth it into place, pleating as needed to fit it up against the bottom and sides of the shell. The edges of the paper will project beyond the rim of the pan; just leave them standing straight up.
Fill the shell to the top with dried beans. Gently stir the beans around with your fingers to ensure that there are no air pockets (especially down in the corners where the sides and bottom of the pan meet). Top up with more beans as needed to come level with the top of the fluted edge of the piecrust.
Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake the shell for 25 minutes.
Set out a wire rack and, alongside it, a mixing bowl. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and set it on the rack; bring together the points of the parchment (which won’t be hot to the touch), and carefully lift out the beans and transfer them to the bowl.
Slide the baking sheet back into the oven and bake the crust another 7 minutes (or until pale golden) for prebaked, or 10 minutes (until golden brown) for fully prebaked, depending on your recipe’s requirements. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes enough dough for any of the following:
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the machine 3 times to blend. Scatter the frozen butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds, to cut all of the butter into pea-size pieces. Scatter the pieces of frozen shortening over the flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse the machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend the shortening with the flour. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and riddled with pale butter bits (no pure-white shortening should be visible).
Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl, and make a small well in the center.
If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size (about 1/4 inch in diameter), carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour the cold water into the well. Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop the flour mixture up and over the water, covering the water to help get the absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping the flour up from the sides and bottom of the bowl into the center, rotating the bowl as you mix, and occasionally pausing to clean off the scraper with your finger or the side of the bowl, until the mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crumbly. (If you are working in very dry conditions and the ingredients remain very floury and refuse to clump together at this stage, add another tablespoon of ice-cold water.)
Lightly gather the clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press the dough a few times (don’t knead!—just give the dough a few quick squishes), until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad, moist but not damp, that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be—all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.
For single- and double-crust pies, mini pies, potpies, or hand pies: Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, gently shape each portion into a flat disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. For quiche, leave the dough in one piece, flatten it into a single large disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep. That means 8 hours in the refrigerator at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling. (The dough may discolor slightly. No worries. This is merely oxidization and will not affect the flavor or appearance of your finished piecrust.)
Note: At this stage, the wrapped dough can be put in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.
Maple Bourbon Ice Cream
Maple bourbon has a lovely, toasty-smoky sweetness that pairs beautifully with Coffee-Chocolate-Pecan Pie, autumnal fruit pies like Apple Cranberry Walnut Lattice, and aromatic fruit pies such as Five-Spice Plum. It is widely available these days from various labels, from Jim Beam to Knob Creek.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until steaming but not bubbling.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, pouring in a thin stream and whisking constantly.
Pour the tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan, set over medium-low heat, and stir constantly until it thickens to a custard (it should coat, rather than run right off, the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula), about 6 minutes. Do not let the custard boil.
Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the maple syrup and set the bowl in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about 2 hours.
Stir the heavy cream, maple extract, and bourbon into the chilled custard. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze overnight before serving.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new, and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. You have the power to keep us cooking, sharing these stories, and helping you in the kitchen.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table.
Reprinted with permission from Magpie © 2015 by Holly Ricciardi, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.