I've been thinking about moving away from cakes and instead going to pies for holidays and birthdays. While cake is the traditional birthday dessert they aren't always the favorite. I say this because when I bring cake, cupcakes, and pie to a holiday the pie is always gone and there is always cake and cupcakes leftover.
While cakes and cupcakes aren't hard to make they can be time consuming since you have to bake the cake, whip up the frosting, and then decorate them. On the other hand pies are simply placed in a pie crust, baked, and that's it. Sure you can decorate them or jazz them up a bit but it doesn't take much effort. Plus people seem to like them better.
In my search for great pie recipes I came across one for a Chocolate Pecan Pie. I'll admit this isn't my normal type of pie. For starters the crust is very different then that of any other pie I make. It's not a pie crust and it's not a graham cracker crust. Really this is more of a tart than a pie but they are all very similar.
The crust of this pie is a combination of pecans, sugar, butter, and flour. It makes a sweet nutty shell on which to put the chocolate. The pie itself doesn't need to be baked which makes this pie all the easier. I can simply bake this crust up to 2 days ahead of time then fill it a few hours before I need the pie.
The filling is simply a thick chocolate pudding or mousse. It's rich and delicious and only has 3 ingredients in it which makes it ridiculously easy to make. However, the filling needs to chill for several hours before serving so that it's able to be sliced and not run everywhere. I personally like to let it set up overnight.
The pie is pretty as it is but of course I wanted to decorate it a bit. In this case I simply took a bit of whipped cream and dotted it around the edge then topped the cream off with chocolate covered espresso beans. It was simple and looked elegant.
The flavors in this pie were delicious. The nutty crust paired so well with the rich chocolate filling. The whipped cream lighted up the feel of the pie and was the perfect addition. This is a great pie for birthdays, parties, or as an everyday dessert.
For the crust:
- ⅓ c. ground pecans
- ¾ c. flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1-2 Tablespoons water
For the filling:
- 4 oz. milk chocolate
- 4 oz dark chocolate
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ½ c. whipped cream
- 12 chocolate covered espresso beans
- Place the pecans, flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor and process until a dough forms. Add a tablespoon or two of water to bring the dough together.
- Remove from the processor, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the refrigerated dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out in a circle. Carefully flip the dough into a 9 inch tart pan and press into the bottom and sides of the pan. Remove any excess dough from the edges and use the excess to patch any holes you might have in the dough.
- Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the filling pour the heavy cream in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the cream is simmering but not boiling. Remove from heat and add in the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is glossy.
- Pour into the prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Before serving decorate with dollops of whipped cream topped with the chocolate covered espresso beans.
Recipe from Hostess at Heart