Sunday, July 24, 2011

mike's famous pecan/chocolate/bourbon pie

this pie recipe is courtesy of michael schaub - bon vivant, book critic extraordinaire, and the primary eater of my cooking (also household bug eliminator and pug entertainer). sometimes he turns the tables on me, though, and makes things like migas and pie. and it is awesome.

sadly, he was working when this pie needed to be made, so i took it upon myself to make it to his specifications. naturally, i couldn't leave well enough alone and added a couple of things. he didn't mind, though. he's pretty easygoing.

first, the crust. you can definitely use a storebought crust and often that's what happens (the ones from trader joe's are pretty good). i had time to make one, though, and decided to just go for it. i used a recipe from serious eats's food lab column, which is always great (particularly if you are the nerdy type who wants to know the science of things). i made it just like the recipe says, so i don't feel like i really need to go into it here. i did have to use a stand mixer instead of the food processor, though. i think the food processor would be better, if you have one. it's faster and better able to smash things together.

i was a little nervous, because as the picture above this one indicates, the dough seemed really dry and crumbly when i first mixed it up. after a couple of hours in the fridge, though, it ended up being pretty easy to roll out. it still seemed drier than i had imagined it would be, but maybe that was due to my flour? i don't know - i did weigh everything, so it wasn't that. but it rolled out just fine. i rolled it on some plastic wrap, so that i could use less flour and still get it into the pan - i just tipped it carefully over the pan and slowly pulled the plastic wrap off the dough. pretty easy. then you just pat the dough gently to fit the contours of the pan and use a sharp knife to cut off any extra.

mmmm, this is the main point of the pie - the filling. basically you use the recipe from the back of the karo syrup, with a few modifications. pecan pie is awesome in general because you don't have to use any fancy mixing things or whatnot - just dump everything in a bowl, stir it up, and splosh it into the pan. first you want to preheat the oven to 350. ugh, i know. the last thing you want to think about is the oven. but imagine how happy you'll be tomorrow morning when you are eating boozy chocolate-y pecan-y pie for breakfast! it will all seem worth it!

so. you need 1 cup of karo syrup. mike uses the dark syrup, rather than the light. i think it has a more caramel-y flavor or something. or maybe it is because it is the one with the recipe on the back. other things you need include 1 cup of sugar, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of salt, a couple of teaspoons - 1 tablespoon molasses, 1/4 cup of bourbon, 1/4 - 1/3 cup chocolate chips, and 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups pecans. you can use either chopped pecans or pecan halves, says mike, but i think halves look prettier. the salt, molasses, bourbon, and chocolate are where Mike's Famous differs from your garden variety pecan pie. actually, the molasses was my addition. it is a family effort.

just mix these lovelies together. you should probably not succumb to the natural temptation to add more chocolate chips (i know! chocolate!) because they might overwhelm the delicious rest of the filling. they should be an accent, not the whole point. save that for a chocolate pie.

pour it all into your pan. i kept the crust in the freezer while i was mixing up the filling ingredients, so that the butter wouldn't get warmed up. i think this was a good idea. do it. also make those little pie edges by pressing gently around the rim with a fork. pie edges are cute and traditional.

also you should probably put your pie pan on a larger pan (like a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan) that has sides. the recipe is for a deep dish pie pan, and i didn't have that, so i was worried that the filling would overflow. i think i would be worried that the filling would overflow even if i had a deep dish pan, though, and hell if i am going to spend all afternoon cleaning burnt sugar stuff out of my oven. you are welcome to not use a pan underneath if cleaning burnt sugar stuff is your jam, however.

bake it for a solid hour or so (but start checking it after 50 minutes-ish - i used a metal pan and glass pans are different from metal with regard to cooking times, so you may have to adjust). sometimes i find other things to bake at 350 because you might as well get double the return for having the oven on. that's your business though. if the crust starts browning too much before the pie is done, you can tear some strips of aluminum foil to put over it. mine seemed fine without foil.

it is done when you kind of tap the middle and it is a little giving and movable still, but not jiggly. it will set up more once it cools, but you don't want to take it out too early. i think you will be able to tell once you're in the moment.

you should eat this pie with ice cream. vanilla is traditional, but coconut is quite good as well. and a little piece of breakfast pie never hurt anyone.

1 pie crust, either homemade or purchased
1 cup karo syrup
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup of bourbon
1/4 - 1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups pecans

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