Another of the millions of recipes for this dessert, this pie has
more pecans than most, and it includes both cocoa and instant espresso
powder to cut the sweetness slightly. During baking, it forms two
not-very-distinct layers: a cocoa-pecan top layer, and a bottom
layer of espresso "custard". Please use Dutch process cocoa powder
for this, as it will give you a dark, rich look for the top layer
that regular unsweetened cocoa powder cannot provide. Serve this
warm, at room temperature, or chilled, but don't forget the lightly
sweetened whipped cream or a first-class vanilla ice cream, as the
pie needs an accompaniment and either would be ideal. Serve small
slices of this, too; it's quite rich.
cups all-purpose flour
Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
3 to 5 Tbsp. ice water
cups pecan halves or large pieces
eggs, graded "large"
Tbsp. instant espresso powder (it MUST be instant!)
cup unsalted butter, softened
cup firmly packed light brown sugar
cup sifted or strained unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
cup light corn syrup
Crust: In medium bowl, combine flour and salt; stir to mix well.
With two knives or pastry blender, cut in cold butter until mixture
is in fine crumbs. (This can also be done in a food processor fitted
with a steel blade; pulse machine on-and-off until butter-flour
mixture is in fine crumbs, then turn it into a medium bowl.) Gradually
add just enough ice water so that pastry holds together. Form into
a ball, then flatten into a disk. Handle as little as possible.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 to 2 hours.
Roll out chilled dough on lightly floured surface with lightly floured
rolling pin. Turn crust over frequently, and lightly re-flour work
surface and rolling pin as necessary. Crust should be rolled into
a circle about 13 inches in diameter. Gently fit crust into ungreased,
9 inch pie plate of heatproof glass; form a high standing rim, trimming
excess from edges and pinching or fluting rim decoratively as desired.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Throughly prick crust all over with fork. Chill at least 10 minutes
while oven heats. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes (crust will
not brown). Remove to cooling rack and cool completely before filling.
Filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If your pecan halves
are very large, break them up a bit with your fingers; otherwise,
leave them whole. Scatter the pecans evenly on the bottom of the
cooled pie shell. In small bowl, beat eggs with fork to combine.
Add espresso powder and beat to mix. Let stand at least 10 minutes,
beating occasionally to dissolve espresso powder.
By hand, in medium bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, and vanilla
until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa and salt. Add egg-espresso
mixture one-third at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.
Stir in corn syrup; this will be a thick mixture.
Pour mixture slowly over pecans in pie shell. if any pecans do not
get completely covered by the corn syrup mixture, submerge them
until they do. Let stand 2 or 3 minutes; with toothpick or tip of
sharp knife, pierce any air bubbles (during this standing period,
pecans may rise to top of pie--OK).
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to
350 degrees; bake 33 to 37 minutes longer (total baking time is
43 to 47 minutes). Pie is done when edges are cracked and risen
but center still quivers slightly when pie is shaken gently. Do
not overbake. If pie begins to brown excessively, cover top lightly
with foil. Remove from oven; cool on rack before serving.
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