Over the weekend Andy was jonesing for a not-too-sweet pecan pie with a little chocolate in it. I don't much care for pecan pie—I'd rather spend my fat and sugar allowance on other goodies—but I did hunt down a recipe for him. In that same stack of ignored cookbooks was Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, another book that had come highly recommended to me and also one that I'd already tried out by finding recipes online with The Google. Greenspan introduces this recipe by saying that she developed it because she finds most pecan pies too sweet, so I knew I'd come to the right place.
Neither Andy nor I had the time or inclination to make pie dough, so I went to Whole Foods and bought a frozen pie crust from the Vermont Mystic Pie Company. It tasted fine in the end but was a little too small, so we had some bubbling-over issues. (I also had a major d'oh—or should that be d'ough?—moment when I realized that the ancient, rancid Basmati rice I'd found in the pantry and planned to use for pie weights was still standing on the counter. I'd accidentally used the brand-new Arborio rice I'd just bought for the paella!)
Chocolate Pecan Pie
1 9" single pie crust, partially baked and cooled
¾ cup light corn syrup
½ cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1½ cups (about 7 oz.) pecan halves and/or pieces
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 425°. Put the pie plate containing the partially baked pie crust on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk the corn syrup and brown sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until you have a smooth, foamy mixture. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and give the batter a good mix. Rap the bowl against he counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then stir in the pecans and chocolate. Dump the filling into the crust.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a foil shield for the crust by cutting a 9" ring out of aluminum foil. Lower the oven temperature to 350°. Place the foil shield on top of the piecrust so that the filling is still exposed, but the crust is covered by the foil. Bake for another 15–20 minutes, or until it has puffed up, is beautifully browned, and no longer jiggles when tapped. Transfer pie plate to a rack, remove the foil shield, and cool to room temperature.