Brown Butter Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Bittersweet Chocolate

Brown Butter Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Bittersweet Chocolate

Bourbon, brown butter, and bittersweet chocolate...need I say more?

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All photography by Julie Jay Photos

All photography by Julie Jay Photos

My husband and I spent the day hiking through the forests of Wyoming in search of the perfect Christmas tree, while our boys waited eagerly at home. It's a new tradition we've started since moving to Jackson, and one I plan to continue. Jeremiah's little sister, Julie, also our family photographer, came along for the adventure. I'm not sure Julie realized what she was getting herself into when she agreed to document the trip. She didn't bring any snow boots and had to borrow Jeremiah's size 13 Sorels. Watching her maneuver her way through knee deep snow, in 20° cold, wearing boots three times the size of her feet, is a sight I'll never forget. She was such a trooper, and my laughing companion forever more.

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When we returned home to set up the tree, Julie sat with the boys and her husband by the fire, and defrosted. As she shared the tedious details of the day (a flat tire, getting stuck in the snow, and then some), I realized I needed to thank her somehow, otherwise she may never visit again. I show gratitude with food, more specifically the winning combination of flour, butter, and sugar, and this time, I added pecans, bourbon, and bittersweet chocolate, creating the ultimate pecan pie.

Pecan pie is one of my favorite holiday desserts. I grew up having it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, usually at my Grandma's house. To me, it's a seasonal staple. To my surprise, Jeremiah and Julie had never tried it. I couldn't wait to blow their minds with what may be the best pecan pie ever. 

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It's the brown butter that takes it over the top. Or maybe it's the bourbon, enhancing the nutty caramel flavor of the pecans. No, it's the bittersweet chocolate, because let's face it, chocolate makes everything better. Part pie, part candy, and heaven on earth.

Jeremiah and Julie, after eating a slice smothered in vanilla ice cream, couldn't fathom how they existed so long without pecan pie. It was the perfect compliment to a night of tree decorating, family, and holiday traditions. Not to mention, a well deserved reward for cutting down a Christmas tree in the dead of winter.

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Brown Butter Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Bittersweet Chocolate

Pastry

* Makes enough for dough for 1 double crust or 2 single crust pies

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and sea salt.
  2. Add the cubed butter and, with a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend until the mixture begins to resemble small peas. 
  3. Drizzle a few tablespoons of water over the flour and butter mixture and mix with a fork. Add more water till the dough begins to come together. Once the dough becomes moist and clumps together, it's hydrated enough.
  4. Divide the dough into two balls. Flatten them into disks and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  5. Remove the dough 30 minutes before you're ready to use so it will roll out easily.

Baker's Note: Dough will keep in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic, for one week, and will keep frozen for one month. 

Filling

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons kentucky bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12 inch round. Transfer to a pie plate, pressing lightly to fit. Trim the edge, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate. Crimp decoratively using a spoon or fork, or make a braid using leftover dough. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  3. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook the butter, stirring often, until it begins to foam and turn brown. This will take about 5 minutes. Transfer the butter to a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  
  4. Add the eggs, dark brown sugar, honey, dark corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Whisk together till smooth. Gently fold in the chopped pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips. 
  5. Pour the filling into your prepared pie crust. Bake pie on center rack for 10 minutes, then reduce your oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for an additional 40-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the center of pie jiggles slightly.  
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then chill the pie for at least 4 hours, till center is set completely. 
  7. This pie can be made 3 days ahead, keep covered and chilled.

Enjoy!

Happy Holidays from us!

All photography by Julie Jay Photos

Attire on Lindsey and Jeremiah provided by Basin + Range, exclusive to Backcountry.com

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