CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO PECAN PIE
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + more for rolling crust
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 oz. (4 tbs.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 oz. (4 tbs.) vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- (put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting)
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 oz. (4 tbs.) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbs. instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
- 2 tbs. coffee liqueur (kahlúa or caffé lolita)
- 2 cups lightly toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
- about 1/2 cup perfect pecan halves
Make the crust:
Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor just to blend. Add the butter and shortening and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Tossing and stirring quickly with a fork, gradually add enough cold water (2 to 4 Tbs.) that the dough just begins to come together. It should clump together easily if lightly squeezed but not feel wet or sticky. With your hands, gather the dough and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a
disk and wrap it in plastic. Chill the dough for 2 hours or up to 2 days before rolling. The dough can also be frozen for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature until pliable, 10 to 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick, 13-inch-diameter round. Be sure to pick up the dough several times and rotate it, reflouring the surface lightly to prevent sticking. I use a giant spatula or the bottom of a removable-bottom tart pan to move the dough around. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch Pyrex pie pan and trim the edges so there's a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang underneath itself to create a raised edge and then decoratively crimp or flute the edge. (Save the scraps for patching the shell later, if necessary). Chill until the dough firms up, at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator or 20 minutes in the freezer.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line the pie shell with parchment and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges of the crust are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and beans or weights. If necessary, gently repair any cracks with a smear of the excess dough. Transfer the shell to a rack to cool.
Make the filling:
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a small metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Dissolve the instant espresso in 1 Tbs. hot water and add to the egg mixture, along with the coffee liqueur and the melted chocolate and butter. Whisk to blend.
Evenly spread the toasted pecan pieces in the pie shell. To form a decorative border, arrange the pecan halves around the perimeter of the pie shell, on top of the pecan pieces, keeping the points of the pecans facing in and the backs just touching the crust. Carefully pour the filling over the pecans until the shell is three-quarters full. Pour the remaining filling into a liquid measuring cup or small pitcher. Transfer the pie to the oven and pour in the remaining filling. (The pecans will rise to the top as the pie bakes.)
Bake the pie until the filling puffs up, just starts to crack, and appears fairly set, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer it to a rack and allow it to cool completely (at least 4 hours) before serving.
Make Ahead Tips:
This pie tastes best if cooled and then refrigerated for several hours or overnight.
Serving suggestions: I like to serve the pie lightly chilled with a dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream.