As you may have gathered from reading this blog, I love pie but, sadly, PIE DOES NOT LIKE ME.  No matter how gently or carefully or nicely I try to coax a pie crust out of me, I usually get a huge pile of failure.  In fact, one time I became so frustrated (tears may or may not have been produced) that Martin declared that I should never EVER be allowed to make pie again.  Pie is serious business.  As in, it seriously thinks I suck.

Sufficient time had passed for me to forget how much pie really hates me, so I decided to take another stab at it.  I chose chocolate pecan because we were going to Rob’s birthday party and his wife told us that was one of his favorite pies.  She also said his tastes change a lot, so I knew going in that it might be hit or miss.

This time around, I decided to try a new method of pie-making:  utilizing a food processor.  Martha Stewart makes it look effortless, but is that really that surprising?  So I set up our food processor and broke out my standby pie crust recipe, Pie Crust A La Brian.

The next time I make a pie crust, I will make sure to cut my butter and shortening into fairly uniform sized (and small!) chunks.  This time around, they were pretty large and, pulsing my food processor, I quickly got to a point where i had large chunks of butter (we are talking pat-sized pieces, not pea-sized) mixed in with butter that had already reached a cornmeal consistency.  So I kept pulsing to fix that and the next thing I knew, the moisture from the butter was already pulling the flour together.  This is about when I started to worry, because overprocessing pie crust can make it tough and crunchy – I knew that from experience!

I added some water (even less than Brian’s recipe called for!) and came up with a pretty wet pie dough.  I flattened them into disks, wrapped them in saran wrap and put them in the refrigerator to chill.

I was so worried about what was going to happen with the pie crust that I actually baked BOTH pie crusts, even though I only needed one for pecan pie.  You can see it here:

It’s like looking at Beauty and the Beast!

Maybe in a way it worked out … the first crust (guess which?) fell apart because I didn’t flour the countertop generously enough.  It needed a lot of flour to keep from sticking.  I used that one as a test run to see how it would roll out and (more importantly!) how it would taste once baked.

I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled out my deformed pie crust.  It wasn’t the best pie crust I’ve ever eaten but it had a buttery texture.  It was also very crumbly (is that normal???) and not as flaky as I would have liked.  But it tasted like a pretty decent pie crust and it was surely the best I’ve made without having Brian hovering over my shoulder.  So I forged on with the next crust and made sure to flour the countertop even more than before.

So now that I have rambled for a very long time about the pie crust: the filling.  I basically typed in ‘chocolate pecan pie’ and picked a recipe that called for sugar/ corn syrup as opposed to cane syrup / corn syrup (where does one buy cane syrup?  I could not find it!).  This is the one I chose, though Emeril has about 5 variations of the same, the only difference is the way they are garnished.

It was really sweet and a bit chewy.  I think I might have liked it more if the pecans were chopped instead of whole.  In the future, I’ve decided that pecan pie tartlets are the way to go.  There is a better crust to filling ratio.  Also, reviewers of the recipe stated that it looked almost burnt but to me, that looks like a pretty normal pecan pie.  I did cover the edges of the crust with aluminum until the last 5 minutes of baking, to ensure no burning.

I count this as a quasi-success.  It actually came out resembling a pie (WIN!), but only half of it was eaten at the party [LOSE 😦 ].