After the overwhelming response from both my readership (Hi Abs!) and the eaters of the peach/berry pie, I was encouraged to bake another pie this past weekend.
So I did.
This time I didn't even have to open The Book to decide what kind of pie to bake, because the Tofu Muchacha (aka T.M.) noted that I had all of those pecans left from the previous pie (not to mention the 2nd frozen crust) and thus... a pecan pie was the most logical choice.
Now... I should say that I am not a fan of the pecan pie, particularly. I like the ones with chocolate or something else going on, because it's just got a weird texture otherwise that I cannot abide.
T.M. suggested I make a black bottom pecan pie, and I was briefly appalled and I whispered "We call them African Americans now." She did not laugh at this joke. Nor should she have. What she was actually suggesting was that it would be a pecan pie with a chocolate layer, which... sounds better than just regular ol' pecan pie.
Strangely, The Book didn't really have a great recipe for one of these types 'o' pies... either they were too complicated with all kinds of chilling and pouring and time involved, or they included meringue (another weird texture thing), or they just seemed kinda boring. I found myself trolling the corners of that Gommorah known as "FoodTV.com" for chocolate pecan pie recipes and came across one that sounded good. "Rich Chocolate Pecan Pie".
It took me a little while to notice that the pie recipe was that of one "Emeril Lagasse". He of the "Pork Rules" bumper stickers and pseudo-Nawlins accent. That same Bam- spouting huckster who both make Food popular and made us all eventually want to kill ourselves just to escape his ever-increasing omni-presence.
Let me just say 3 things about good ole Emeril...
1) I used to love the guy, and I still think his food looks fantastic... He's just more over-exposed than Dave Matthews Band was way back in my freshman year dorm.
2) His recipes are usually pretty complex, though have always yielded success in the past. This one was simple.
3) I think I'd have a lot more tolerance for him now if he seemed like he still enjoyed himself in even the tiniest way.
Anyway... back to the recipe. Turns out the T.M. had most of the ingredients already, so I really only had to purchase the Chocolate Chips.
Here's the Mise en place:
Those fancy blue jars have sugar and brown sugar. Also, you'll see on the left some of my special spices... those aren't in the recipe. Cinnamon and Cayenne are part of a special addition of my own. Because, frankly Emeril's recipe is a little pussyfied. I'll get to that later.
The thing about this recipe is that it's so simple, as written, that I won't have much to say between steps this time around, so let me just lay it out there and I'll comment as necessary.
The first thing I did was take a cup and a half of pecan halves and a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and I poured them into a bowl, mixed them up, and then poured them directly into the bottom of that shameful frozen pie crust....
Mark my words: I will NOT use a frozen crust for my next pie. No way. No how.
I digress... you'll see below what that looked like.
After wrastlin' things away from her, I mixed the remaining ingredients in a bowl and poured (the admittedly gross-looking mixture) into the pie.
Sugar, Brown sugar, 4 eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt
So I put it in the oven at 375 for an hour.
Have you guys seen Mad Men? That show is effing awesome. I've been trying to catch up on it so that the T.M. and I can watch the new season together soon. I really, really like John Hamm. He's great in that show. And Christina Hendricks? Ssssmokin. Seriously. If you're doing a show with period costuming or with period dialogue...watch Mad Men. Their attention to detail is amazing.
After an hour, I took the pie out of the oven, and it looked pretty freakin good, if not all that interesting. In reference to the un-even pie filling, it seemed to burn a little where it'd spilled over. Not a big deal, really considering the twist:
Oh...so what's the twist and turn this week to make Emeril's Pussyfied pie a little less so?
I decided to make a Milk Chocolate/Chili Power Glaze for the top. I know, right!
I took some milk chocolate chips, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon and melted them down (with a little butter and milk) and poured that delicious melange over the baked pie.
This mixure of pepper, cinnamon, and chocolate is what makes this pie "Mexican". The Tofu Muchacha was telling me about a Mexican coffee she had, and it included all of those ingredients. I think it's odd that I came up with that exact combination 4 days before I'd heard of this beverage, but anyway, that's the name.
After letting that thing cool (yes Abbey... I let it cool), we dug in. The final pie, cut and on a plate looked a little something like this:
Yes... it was delicious. I'll not deny that. I will say that it was a more reserved success than the previous pie.
1) The chocolate topping was delicious and spicy and kicky and whatnot, but it hardened when it cooled, and it didn't seem to mesh that well with the rest of the pie. Gilding the lily a bit, if you ask me.
2) The pecans should have been chopped up a little. The recipe called for pecan halves, but that's probably too chunky for a pie. It was tasty, but as the T.M. said "It's more chewing than I like in my pie."
3) The un-even counters caused that one edge to burn slightly with all of the sugar. Fortunately, it still tastes lovely, but it caused a slightly crispy texture along the edge and the coloration was off on that side.
What else would I consider doing to improve it?
1) If I decided to add a topping again, I'd use something a little less sweet or rich. I don't know what, but something lighter would be nice.
2) I may cut the semi-sweet chocolate chips with some milk chocolate to again lighten the flavor a little.
3) I'd use light brown sugar instead of dark.
4) No cayenne, but maybe like... Ancho chile powder instead. It's got a slightly sweeter heat to it.