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CHOCOLATE PECAN SLAB PIE

SERVES 12-24

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a nutty, gooey, sweet pecan pie on the dessert table (along with about five other must-have pies). I like a whisper of bourbon and a healthy slug of maple syrup, anchoring this pie with one foot firmly in the South and the other in New England. Of course, that’s my version of pecan pie—after decades spent living below the Mason-Dixon line, there’s still a bit of my mother’s Boston in me. Big, fat, fresh Texas pecans take it right over the top. Whether you say “PEA -kan” or “puh- CAHN ” doesn’t matter one bit when serving up this satisfying confection. No need to wait for Thanksgiving, either.

Make Ahead: Make the dough up to 3 days ahead. Toast the nuts up to 1 week ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

CHOCOLATE CRUST

  • 1-1/3 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • Scant 3 tablespoons (18 g) natural (not Dutched) cocoa powder
  • Scant 3 tablespoons (40 g) granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, cubed and frozen for 20 minutes
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coffee, ice cold
  • Powdered sugar for dusting and rolling the dough

FILLING

6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter

1-1/4 cups packed (267 g) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (78 g) dark corn syrup

1/4 cup (78 g) maple syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons bourbon, optional

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

3 cups (340 g) toasted pecans, chopped

2 ounces (56 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

DIRECTIONS

For the crustIn the food processor, pulse the flour, cocoa powder, and granulated sugar. Add the butter and salt and pulse until the butter is in small pieces coated with flour, about 15 times. Add the cold coffee all at once and process until the mixture almost forms a ball. Form the dough into a 3- by 4-inch rectangle using plastic wrap and a bench scraper to firmly press the dough into a cohesive form. Wrap tightly and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly. Heavily dust the rolling surface with powdered sugar, roll out the dough to 11 by 15 inches, and place in the slab pie pan, pressing it into the corners of the pan and allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 350°F; if you have one, place a baking stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the center rack to heat.

For the fillingMelt the butter until foaming in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and molasses until velvety and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bourbon (if using), zest, and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated and no yellow streaks remain.

Scatter the pecans across the bottom crust and pour the sticky filling over the nuts, using a rubber spatula to get every drop. Slide the pie into the oven (on top of the steel, stone, or baking sheet if using) and bake until the top of the pie is browned but the middle is still jiggly, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool, about 4 hours.

Melt the chocolate (see box) and pour into a piping bag or a ziptop bag. Snip the end and drizzle chocolate over the cooled pie. Refrigerate to set the drizzle, about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, slice the pie using a knife heated under warm water and wiped clean between cuts. Don’t forget the ice cream.

HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, about the size of a pea. The ideal temperature for melted chocolate is 90ÅãF; the butterfats and milk solids will not separate and when it firms up again, it will not have a dusty bloom.

In the Microwave

Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe container. Using low power, microwave in short 15-second bursts, stirring between each burst. The stirring is critical or the chocolate will burn. Depending on the quantity of chocolate, this process could take a few minutes. Once the chocolate is smooth, or nearly smooth, stop microwaving and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted.

On the Stovetop

Construct a double boiler with a saucepan filled with an inch or two of water and a metal or glass bowl that fits over the saucepan, not touching the water below. Bring the water to a low boil. Place the chopped chocolate in the bowl. With the bowl over the simmering water, stir until the chocolate has melted. Be careful not to cook it, but simply to melt it.