Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie

malted chocolate pecan pie / a thousand threads
Last week I ordered a pie book that I expected to love, but not quite so much as I did. Pie, much like Thanksgiving turkey, is something that we tend to develop our own ideas about, and once we’ve got them in our head, it’s hard to get them out.

When it comes to food, I’m as stubborn as they come. I’m convinced that a turkey is better brined and basted – even if Alton Brown says I shouldn’t baste. And I’m convinced that my all-butter piecrust is the best thing on earth.

But my own opinions don’t really mean anything to anyone but me. Others could think my pie is the worst. (I hope you don’t — because come spring, Mark and I might have a little bit of an announcement… we’ve been foreshadowing here for some time, but behind the scenes we’re plugging away, and some exciting things are happening — but you might.)

Because of that, I’m always curious to join in the piecrust debate, and to take a peek into others’ kitchens to see what they love.

So when The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book showed up at my door, I turned straight to the crust. Was it the same? Similar? Something totally new?

malted chocolate pecan pie / a thousand threads
It’s similar… but as with most recipes, just a little bit not. And Emily and Melissa Elsen, the lovely and talented sisters behind the shop who took much of their inspiration from their grandmother, brilliantly add just a little bit of apple cider vinegar… something my own grandmother always did.

But the best thing about the book, beyond the amazing recipes (I’ve tried two so far, and both are to die for… especially this malted chocolate pecan pie made with barley malt syrup that I picked up at our local brewing shop – yum) is its openness and warmth. One note, in particular, will stay with me for a long time…

“We’ve given you our tips and tricks based on what we’ve learned from making pie every day for a good while now, but that is not to say we haven’t missed some good ideas or you won’t disagree with us. Don’t be afraid to modify and make the pies your own. Why else would we share our recipes with you? We honed our skills as pie makers by reading and listening to what other people did before us and then tweaking ingredients and techniques to our liking. In fact, if you’ve got ideas or suggestions you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you. One of the best things about making pie is sharing your approach with other pie makers. True pie makers love to talk about pie.”

And as a lady who’s long dreamed of accomplishing even half of what these brilliant ladies have accomplished, I have to say… I couldn’t agree more.

The book is inspirational and full of deliciousness, and this particular recipe, frankly, kind of blew us away.

malted chocolate pecan pie / a thousand threads
Malted Chocolate Pecan Pie
Recipe via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

For the crust:
1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup ice

For the pie:
1½ cups pecan pieces
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55% cocoa)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup barley malt syrup
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup sour cream
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk

For the crust:
Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend). Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

To pre-bake the crust:
Line crust in pie dish with layer of heavy duty foil or baking parchment (do not use wax paper). Be certain that foil lines all of shell and covers crimped edge, but don’t press down hard. Pour a good amount of pie weights (ceramic beads readily available at good kitchen supply stores) or dry beans into lined pastry shell.

Bake in 400 degree F oven for up to 20 minutes, so crust is set but not overly browned. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil/parchment and weights/beans. Place crust back in oven to bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

For the pie:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. To toast the pecans, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl large enough to rest on the rim of the saucepan, above the water. Melt the butter and chocolate over this double boiler, whisking occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat. Add the brown sugar, barley malt syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ginger, and stir well. Mix in the sour cream, then the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, stirring briskly after each addition. Stir in the cooled toasted pecan pieces.

Place the prebaked pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 52 to 57 minutes (watch closely though, I found that in my convection oven I only needed around 40-45), rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has some wobble (like gelatin). Be careful not to over-bake or the custard can separate; the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

malted chocolate pecan pie / a thousand threads

13 Comments

  1. Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This looks fantastic! You’re so lovely at cooking.

    • Laicie
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Aww thank you!! Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Posted November 26, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery is near me, so I’m officially motivated to go check it out 🙂 This pie sounds INCREDIBLE!!

    • Laicie
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      YES! We meant to get there while we were up but it was so go go go the whole time. We’re already planning another trip just for pie. 😉

  3. Posted November 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    That is one beautiful looking pie!

  4. Posted November 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I think I might have to add this cookbook to my Christmas list. Having grown up in the south I’m accustomed to a pie crust made with 100% lard, not butter. So healthy. I like an all butter crust but something is missing for me so I’ve recently settled on half crisco/half butter. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog.

    • Laicie
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      LOVE me a good lard crust, and usually they’re prettier! The cookbook actually has a great recipe for a lard crust too that I’ll have to try!

  5. Posted November 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    oh dear, that looks so dangerous hah !! and so delicious!

  6. Posted November 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    i hope the announcement to come in spring is what i think it’s going to be ~~ (butter involved?)

    • Laicie
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      You might be on to something there. 😉

  7. Posted November 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, YUM!

  8. Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This looks amazing and I am absolutely going to ask for that book for Christmas! But more likely, I will buy it tomorrow for myself because a good cookbook is something that I just cannot wait for!
    So glad to have found your site!

    • Laicie
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Haha I’m the same way! I never want to wait for the wish list. 🙂 And I’m so glad you found it too!

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