Sunday, June 17, 2018

Black Bottom Pecan Cream Pie

Today, I am wondering when history will repeat itself. The specific history I am concerned with is the days when going to the movies and finishing the evening with a slice of pie at the corner diner was considered the perfect date. Clearly, everything I have read about the 50's era indicates that it was a simpler time even though the US was in a growth mode in manufacturing.

You can still find some of these diners in existence and they now are referred to as "retro" diners. However, do not let the passing of history deter you from experiencing one of the favorite diner desserts of all time-Chocolate Cream pie.

With little assembly time and a small amount of ingredients that can be found at any grocers, making this at home is fairly easy. The chilling time is what takes the longest.

This classic pie is perfectly balanced with a rich chocolate filling and a light whipped cream topping. The slight twist on this traditional favorite is the addition of pecans that gives it a nice crunch and a subtle nut flavor. So let's head to the kitchen so you can experience an ice cold slice of this decadent pie....

Black Bottom Pecan Pie
adapted from Maida Heatter

1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz melted butter

Ingredients/Chocolate Filling
4 eggs yoks
8 oz chopped chocolate (semi-sweet, dark or sweet)
1 tbs instant coffee
1 cup of light cream (regular whippping cream, not heavy)

Ingredients/Cream Topping
1 cup of pecans (medium chopped)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 dz large pecan halves (for decorating surface)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of whipped cream stabilizer (optional)

For the crust, whisk the sugar with the graham crumbs and then whisk in the nuts. Pour the melted butter in and stir until all the dry ingredients have been dampened. The mixture should be crumbly but you should be able to clump it together. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Empty the crumb blend into a 9 inch pie plate. Using your fingers, create the side edge first by pressing the crumbs up the inside outer wall of the pie plate. Do not afraid to be generous, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the side has been formed, press the remaining crumbs evenly into the bottom. The interior of the pie plate should be completely covered with an even top edge. Place in oven and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Start on the filling by pouring the cream into a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream is lukewarm, add the chocolate pieces. Using a whisk, stir the mixture and let heat up until all the chocolate is melted. Then whisk in the instant coffee. Once dissolved, remove from heat. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

After the cooling time, whisk one egg yolk into the chocolate cream until blended. Repeat the process until each egg yolk has been incorporated into the mixture. Let cool for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Then pour mixture into the crumb crust and place in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours.

During the last 15 minutes of the chilling time, create the topping. Chill a bowl and mixer beaters for about 10 minutes. Remove all chilled utensils from refrigerator. Fill the bowl with heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and stabilizer (if using). Beat the mixture on medium speed until cream is very thick and holds its shape. Fold in the nuts.

Remove pie from refrigerator and drop spoonfuls of the cream on top. Smooth the surface of the pie starting from the outer edges to the center. Cover all the chocolate filling evenly. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate for another hour and then slice and serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. Recipe suggests foiling pie pan for crust. Crust is to be frozen after cooling for about 1 1/2 hours. Then foil is to be removed and crust placed back in pan. The purpose is to keep pie shell from sticking. I tried this method and the frozen crust crumbled before I could get it in the pan. I created the crust again without the foil and found that I did not have an issue with sticking anyway.

2. For more crunch, toast your pecans before using.

3.Try experimenting with the add in. For salty sweet, consider chopped pretzels or salted peanuts instead of pecans. You can also use milk chocolate if dark is not your preference.
                                  **LAST YEAR:Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins**