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 😦 ].