Southern Living (November 2016)
If you're already thinking about your own Thanksgiving menu and you're starting to sweat at the thought of cooking all that food, we have some good news for you:
You can start cooking today. And you can start with pie.
There's lots of advice about this online, but here's a shorthand guide for you when you're asking, "Can I make this pie in advance?"
- Nut pies: Make/bake the entire pie. Let it cool. Wrap it up tight. Freeze it. Move it to the fridge the night before the big meal -- revive it in the oven before serving.
- Fruit pies: Make the crust and compile the pie. Wrap it up tight and freeze it. To bake it, you can either thaw the pie in the fridge OR put it directly from the freezer into the oven (it will take more time to bake, of course, if it's fully frozen).
- Pie crusts: Make them and store them in the freezer, either in discs or rolled out into pie tins.
We made 4 different pie recipes for our Fakesgiving (8 total pies). Six of them we made nearly a week ahead. Two were today's German Chocolate-Pecan Pie. Two were apple pies that we compiled and froze. The other four pies had components we could make ahead and freeze.
The freezer is your friend when it comes to Thanksgiving planning. Know it. Embrace it. Start cooking ahead of time.
Also your friend: This recipe for German Chocolate-Pecan Pie, which was our favorite dessert we made this Fakesgiving.
We are partial to chocolate desserts, so we were biased from the get-go on this. But truth be told, neither of us are really pecan pie enthusiasts. Obviously we'll eat a pecan pie (we're not idiots), but would we be excited about making one? Not really. The easiest way to get us excited about a pecan pie is to add chocolate. Throw in some coconut, too? We're sold!
This pie is easy to make (especially if you use a pre-made crust, which is what we did). And the results are ooey-gooey chocolate goodness. It's a dense, rich pie that will be a massive crowd-pleaser.
One tip we have for you: This recipe calls for making chocolate-dipped pecans and then using them to decorate the finished pie. We found this both time-consuming and completely pointless -- they don't really add anything, and they're frankly much less interesting than the pie itself.
So skip the decorative pecans, but don't skip this pie. It's just the kind of freshening up your pecan pie tradition needs.
- 2016's biggest Thanksgiving food trends
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Active time: 25 mins
Total time: 6 hours 50 mins
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY:
The chocolate-covered pecans that are used to decorate the finished pie are time-consuming and, in our opinion, totally pointless. We couldn't even figure out how they were supposed to stay perched on the edge of the pie. Save yourself time and energy and just omit them from the recipe.
And if you use a store-bought pie crust, we won't judge you. That's what we did for our test run.
- 1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold salted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup cold shortening, cubed
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 1 (4-oz.) German's sweet chocolate baking bar, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecan halves and pieces, lightly toasted
- 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
- 35 toasted pecan halves
Prepare the Crust: Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut butter and shortening cubes into flour mixture until mixture resembles small peas. Using a fork, gradually stir in 4 tablespoons ice water, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 1 more tablespoon of water, if necessary. Turn dough out onto a work surface; shape and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Unwrap chilled dough disk, and place on a lightly floured surface. Let dough stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle dough with flour, and roll into a 13-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang; fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides 8 to 10 times with a fork. Freeze 20 minutes. Line piecrust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in preheated oven 14 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper, and bake until crust has lost its raw dough sheen, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Prepare the Chocolate Filling: Microwave German’s sweet chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until melted and smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Pour chocolate filling into prepared piecrust. Shield edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. (Pie will be partially baked.)
Prepare the Coconut-Pecan Filling: Whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Stir in pecans and coconut. Beginning at the outer edges of the partially baked chocolate filling, carefully spoon coconut-pecan filling over chocolate filling, and immediately return pie to oven. Bake until crust is golden and center is set, 35 to 40 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Cool pie completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours.
Prepare the Chocolate-Covered Pecans: Microwave chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until melted, 30 to 45 seconds, stirring until smooth. Dip the lower half of each pecan into the melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into bowl, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Arrange Chocolate-Covered Pecans decoratively around outer edge of pie. (You may have some left over.)