We would never turn down a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. The velvety, aromatic filling marrying delicate, crispy crust is too much for even the most turkey-filled tummy to resist. But bourbon chocolate pecan pie? That’s bringing the pastry game to new heights. Creamy, crunchy, and just a touch spicy, this dish combines all of our favorite desserts into one. This twist on classic pecan pie is an easy way to update the yearly Turkey Day menu, but subtle enough not to upset die-hard Thanksgiving traditionalists.
Russell van Kraayenburg, author and pastry cook for popular Houston bakery Fluff Bake Bar, provides the excellent recipe in his newest cookbook Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries ($19; amazon.com). Even better, his book sets out to truly teach readers about the “science and math behind baking” in order to score perfect results every time. Time to get studying! Recipe below.
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pie Dough (1 lb)
6 oz bread flour
2 oz cake flour
1 tsp salt
14 tbs unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup water
3 oz brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ oz bourbon
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
12 oz pecans, roughly chopped
6 oz dark (52%-70% cacao) chocolate, roughly chopped
Pecan halves, for decoration
1. To make the pie dough by hand: Mix flours and salt in a large bowl. Chop butter into ½-inch chunks and add to flour mixture. Pinch or cut butter into flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter, breaking it into pieces about the size of large peas. If using your hands, work quickly to keep butter from melting.
2. Pour water into flour mixture. Mix dough with your hands or about 10 to 15 turns of a wooden spoon, until it just starts to come together. The dough will be very tough and should remain in a few large chunks.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and push chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, just until it holds together. Flatten dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
4. To make the pie dough using a food processor: Pulse flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor 2 or 3 times to combine. Chop butter into ½-inch cubes and add to flour mixture. Pulse for 1 second about 8 times, until butter is in pieces about the size of large peas. Add water and pulse 3 to 4 times, until dough begins to come together. It may remain in a few large chunks.
5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and push chunks together. Knead 4 to 5 times, just until it holds together. Flatten dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
6. To make the pie: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Mix brown sugar and corn syrup in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in bourbon, cinnamon, vanilla, and butter. Mix in chopped pecans and chocolate until well combined. Set aside.
7. Transfer dough from the refrigerator to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a circle about 14 inches in diameter. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie dish and press into the bottom of the dish, taking care not to let it stretch. Lightly press dough down around the edges and cut off any excess.
8. Pour filling into pie. Arrange pecan halves around the edge, pressing down lightly so they stay in place. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until top is browned and filling is set. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.