While cooking, listen to this: Juice - Lizzo
I still kind of can’t believe it’s already January. I know, I know, we all always say that, but I truly cannot believe it’s already the new year, AND it’s already winter, AND we’re already halfway through the school year.
Time snuck up on us so fast that we kind of forgot to post. Oops! Hence, pecan pie in January.
When we started the blog I was in the job search process, and then I found a job that left me with a LOT of free time to come up with recipes and write posts. Which was awesome! But I was also bored out of my mind at work, which led me to the job I currently have. An amazing, positively challenging job. With zero free time to come up with posts.
As Alyssa mentioned yesterday, we made some holiday recipes and came up with grand plans to post them in a timely fashion. We made sweet potato latkes, which were awesome, and will probably pop up next year IN TIME FOR HANUKKAH, but we couldn’t justify posting them weeks later. It just felt…weird.
But our grand plans! Our hard work! What would become of it?
Well, who says you can’t have pie in January?
I hate social media with a deep, burning passion, and if I could, I would delete every account I have (read: two) and never scroll again. I only go on Instagram if we’re posting a recipe or cat, but I know what’s on there around this time of year: detoxes, resolutions, new years new me’s and so on.
Which can be awesome! Checking in with yourself is important and great and everyone could use a refresh.
But what I’m way more interested in is consistent balance and moderation. We love, LOVE salad around here, but we also love our desserts. I think we might have more salad and dessert recipes than anything else? Pretty good indication of what we love.
So, that leads us here, to adding a double chocolate pecan slab pie recipe to our tiny, shoebox corner of the Internet in a sea of green juices and new gym memberships.
Blame our busy schedules, blame our love of dessert, whatever. Here we are!
This pie recipe comes courtesy of the amazing Deb Perelman of smitten kitchen, by way of the equally amazing Joy the Baker. We tweaked it in the tiniest way possible by adding cocoa powder to the crust and switching up the top crust design. Other than that, it’s all Deb and it’s all magical.
This pie has a chocolate crust, a layer of chocolate ganache, a layer of pecan pie filling and then more chocolate crust.
Like, yeah, eat a salad. This is hefty and salads are great. But then eat this.
If you need further recommendation for this pie, we had a LOT left over after we shot it. I forced Peter to bring some pieces to his friends and students, and then I brought the rest to work because I needed it out of my house.
I would say there was about half left. It was gone within hours.
I don’t really know what else to say about this pie other than that it’s perfect any time of year, and you should make it immediately.
Oh, actually, I do have something else to say. Make your own whipped cream and dollop it on top before you serve it. Excessive? Maybe. Necessary? Mmhmm.
Oh, and one more thing. This pie might look complicated and a little scary, but it is VERY easy to make. I promise. It just takes some time, but it is well worth it.
That’s the last one, I promise.
Happiest of new years from me and Alyssa – we hope it’s full of pie and sweetness and absolutely nothing from 2018.
Love and meows, Rina
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN SLAB PIE
Yield: 12-16 slices, depending on slice size
Active Cook Time: 30m | Inactive Cook Time: 45m, plus 1 hour+ for chilling | Total Cook Time: 75m + chilling
Category: Sweet, Pie, Fall, Winter, Thanksgiving
Note: the dough needs to chill for at least 1 hour, but can be made up to 3 days in advance
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder*
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, VERY cold
¾ cup ice-cold water**, plus more if needed
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1¼ cup chocolate chips
½ heavy cream
pecan pie filling:
3 ½ cups pecan halves
10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 ⅔ cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup or golden syrup
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs + 1 for an egg wash
whipped cream (optional*)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch sugar (optional)
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)
*if you feel like getting all fancy you can use Dutch-processed cocoa powder, but any cocoa powder will do.
**I put ice in a cup of water and measure it right before using, to make sure it’s extra cold.
***is it, though?
Prep: preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking tray with parchment paper, making sure none is drooping too far over the sides.
Make the crust: in a large bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and granulated sugar and mix. Chop the butter into tiny pieces, or grate it with a box grater, and work it into the flour mixture with your hands or two forks. Work until the dough resembles a coarse meal, or the butter is now the size of small peas. Add the cold water and mix with your hands until a clump forms. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl and divide it into two disks, with one disk being slightly larger than the other (larger=bottom pie crust, smaller=top crust). Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 days.
A note about pie crust: the key is to not overmix! Hands hold a lot of heat and pie dough needs to be as cold as possible to get all flaky in the oven.
Toast the pecans: place the pecans on a dry, unlined baking tray. Toast for 10 minutes, then cool, chop up into small pieces and set aside for later.
Make the ganache: in a small saucepan melt the chocolate and heavy cream over medium-low heat until totally melted and combined. Don’t leave it alone! You can also do this in the microwave in 20-second increments. Set aside to cool.
Make the pecan pie filling: in a large saucepan combine the toasted pecans, butter, dark brown sugar, maple/golden syrup and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and add the apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. Whisk in each of the 5 eggs one at a time, whisking until totally combined each time, followed by the toasted pecans.
Assemble the pie crust: on a lightly-floured surface roll out the dough into a rough 18 x 13 rectangle (regular reminder that we don’t do spatial reasoning well around here, so guessing is totally fine). Work fast so that the dough doesn’t get too warm. Transfer to the parchment-lined tray and drape over the bottom, sides and corners. If it’s a little wonky (ours was!), you can add some extra dough to the gaps from any dough hanging over the sides. There should be about ½-inch of dough hanging over the sides, which should be tucked in gently. Pour the chocolate ganache over the crust and spread evenly - you might need to warm it up a bit to get it to spread. Place the crust in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes.
Assemble the pie crust, part 2: while the bottom crust is chilling, you can decide what to do with the top crust! We ended up rolling the dough thinly and using a fluted circle cookie cutter to make a polka dot top, and braided the leftover dough to go around the edges. Joy makes a latice with large strips of pie crust. Totally up to you! Just make sure not to overwork the dough or get it too warm. And, if you do a simple top crust with no shapes or anything, just make sure there are some slits to let steam escape.
Finish up the pie: remove the bottom crust from the fridge and place on a half baking sheet in the event of possible spillage (didn’t happen to us but you never know!). Pour the filling over the ganache layer and spread evenly. Place the top crust pieces (whichever you decided to go with) over the pecan pie filling.
A note about extra things: we had some leftover pecan pie filling and crust (not ganache) so we ended up making tiny pies in ramekins. Try to get as many pecans into the big pie as you can, and go from there.
Bake the pie: stick the pie in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust has taken on a darker color, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to at least room temperature before serving.
Whip the cream (optional, but not really): using a hand-mixer, stand-mixer or your own brute strength, whip the cream and, if using, sugar and/or vanilla until soft peaks form.
To serve: slice into squares, dollop with whipped cream, and knock yourself out.
To keep: the dough can be made up to 3 days in advance, and the pie will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days when wrapped. Whip the cream right before serving.