Monday, April 22, 2013

Chocolate Pecan Mini Pies

Back in California there was a local bakery that sold yummy little mini pies, and their chocolate pecan pie was the best thing ever.  Seriously, eating one of those little pies was otherworldly, they were so good!  It was a sad, sad day for me when they stopped making them.  Which is why I was super excited a few weeks ago to find a bakery in Albuquerque that also made mini chocolate pecan pies. 

I eagerly bought one, expecting the same deliciousness of the pie from California, when I spotted a crucial word on the label: green chili.  Yes, this was a green chili chocolate pecan pie.  (Green chili is seriously in everything here.)  No matter, I thought.  Chocolate will win this battle and it will still be good.  And yes it was good.  But it was not epic.  I like green chili as much as the next person, but in my burrito, not in my chocolate!

As I shook off my disappointment, it occurred to me that rather than try to find that elusive perfect pie, why don’t I make one myself!  Fate was on my side, as a few days later I spotted a tartlet pan on clearance at Target.  (Mmm, tartlets.  Tartlets.  Tartlets.  An internet high five to whoever gets that reference.)

I searched online and through my cookbooks for a chocolate pecan pie recipe, but I couldn’t find one that seemed right.  Finally I decided to take my mom’s pecan pie recipe and just add chocolate.  (Seems simple, but I was surprised by all the weird or complicated recipe’s out there.) 

Now my mom’s pecan pie recipe is really just Dear Abby’s Famous Pecan Pie recipe (which is the best one in my opinion.)  I think what makes it so good is that it uses brown sugar instead of white, which just gives it a little extra yumminess.  I just took that recipe and added melted chocolate, and the result was even better than I expected!  These were some seriously yummy pies!

The recipe makes 12 mini pies or one 9 inch pie.  After I made these my husband said we should freeze them since we wouldn’t be able to eat 12 pies before they went bad.  Um, no.  These suckers were gone in about 5 days.  They looked so cute displayed on my purple dessert stand that I thought about inviting people over to partake, but in the end I kept all the yumminess for myself.  Guess I’ll just have to make some more!

I made the crust from scratch, because you cannot beat homemade pie crust, but you can use store bought crust too.  I also experimented a bit on the type of chocolate I used.  I made pies using dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate.  And really there wasn’t much difference, but I think the dark chocolate was slightly richer, so that’s my recommendation. 

Now that you just cannot wait to make your own, here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Pecan Pie, adapted from Dear Abby’s Pecan Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 C. butter, melted
¼ tsp. salt
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
½ C. dark chocolate chips
1 heaping C. pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350. 

In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, vanilla, eggs, butter, salt, and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each one until chocolate is smooth.  Add to the bowl and mix well.

To make one 9 inch pie:  Roll out crust dough and place it in a 9 inch pie dish.  Pour in the pie filling.  Arrange the pecans on top in an attractive manner.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is set and toothpick comes out clean.  The pie will puff up during baking, but will deflate as it cools.

To make 12 mini pies:  Roll out crust dough and cut out 12 circles.  I used a mug that was the same size as the tartlet pan to cut out my circles.  You can also add leftover dough to make more of a crust edge.  Fill each pie well ¾ of the way full.  Add the pecans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before taking out.

If you make the mini pies, don’t overfill the pie wells, or you will get this:

Hardened, crystalized pie filling that will rip your teeth out if you try to eat, which I may have tried to do.  My second attempt was better:

These were seriously so good.  And this recipe is very simple and easy, my favorite kind!  Top these off with some whipped cream, and I guarantee they won’t last long!

Now I shall never want for a delicious chocolate pecan pie again!  Hope you try these out!  Thanks for reading!

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