My very first job was at a sandwich store called Gourmet Fast & Fresh. It wasn’t any ordinary sandwich shop, it was like a supermarket of sandwiches and baguettes. It was housed in a two storey building. The top level was where the sandwiches were made and packed, then downstairs was were they were displayed and sold. Customers simply came in and chose their pre-made sandwiches, selected a drink, picked up a sweet dessert and paid for them at the register.
The managers were a married couple and they were very charitable and kind. At the end of every night they allowed the employees to take home whatever they did not sell and if there was anything left after that, they gave it to the Salvation Army.
It introduced me to combinations of fillings that I had never seen before:
Turkey + Cranberry Sauce + Camembert
Chicken + Avocado + Mayo + Bacon
Tuna + Mayo + Corn + Lettuce
For a fresh-out-of-high-school teenager, all these combinations seemed new and exciting. I ate myself silly for the 6 months that I was employed there.
They also introduced me to Pecan Pie. I grew up on Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine and had never heard of pecan pie. When one of the cashiers sung its praises I became very curious and took one home to try. I will never forget my first bite. When I sunk my teeth into the little pie I marveled at the buttery pastry and the crunchy nut. The centre was sweet and soft. From then on, I made sure that I would take home a pecan pie if there were any left in the open-faced fridge.
The shop has since closed down and is now a shoe store. I have tried various pecan pies around Sydney and have not found one that matched the magic of the one’s available at the sandwich shop. They were either too sweet, tasteless or had the texture of over cooked egg yolks.
I came across this recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking cookbook, she had listed it as her favourite version of pecan pie – not to sweet. It had coffee, cinnamon and chocolate incorporated into the filling. I researched some blogs and the general consensus was that it was a marvelous version of the treat. So I gave it a go. Although it was not at all the same, I still really enjoyed it.
Recipe adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
Please refer to my recipe for Homemade Pop Tarts for the crust
Ingredients for filling
3/4 cup light corn syrup (golden syrup can be substituted)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves or pieces
85g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch single crust, partially baked and cooled
1/ Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
2/ In a large bowl, whisk the corn syrup and brown sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until you have a smooth, foamy mixture. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and give the batter a good mix.
3/ Rap the bowl against the counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then stir in the pecans and chocolate. Turn the filling into the crust.
4/ Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a foil shield for the crust by cutting a 9-inch circle out of the center of an 11-or 12-inch square of aluminum foil.
5/ Lower the oven temperature to 175 degrees. Place the foil shield on top of the pie—the filling will be exposed, the crust covered by the foil. Bake the pie for another 15 to 20 minutes (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes), or until it has puffed (the middle and the edges should be fairly evenly puffed), is beautifully browned and no longer jiggles when tapped.
6/ Transfer the pie plate to a rack, remove the shield and cool to room temperature.
Tips from the cookbookmaniac
* I used Whittakers Bittersweet 65% Cocoa Dark Chocolate. It melted into the filling and turned it pudding like. The cross section of my pie did not look anything like the picture in the cookbook. It looked a kinda ugly, but tasted fantastic!
* Whilst cooking in the oven, some of the filling spilled over the crust and that part of the crust collapsed. This should only be filled 3/4 of the way. It puffs up dramatically.
Please share this:
chocolatesuzeApril 28, 2010 at 1:19 am
dude your pecan pie looks awesome!
lisaApril 28, 2010 at 3:18 am
What a lovely pecan pie! And a homemade poptart crust? Sounds like a delicious treat.
cityhippyfarmgirlApril 28, 2010 at 8:32 am
I love a great pecan pie and that one looks delicious. Whittakers is also a firm favourite in the supermarket chocolate- especially the dark ghana!
angieApril 28, 2010 at 10:11 am
I keep torturing myself… food blog reading in the morning is not good!
Pecan pie looks delish!
KatherineApril 28, 2010 at 10:54 am
Pecan pie is such a classic dessert. I love it. Dorie Greenspans recipes are great. I love the look of your pie.
Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaApril 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Fantastic looking pecan pie! It’s been ages since I made one (I used to make them for a living) but I recall that it was very moreish!
bettyApril 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm
this pecan pie looks great and i love your home made tart crust 🙂
TrissaApril 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm
I haven’t gotten around to buying the Dorie Greenspan book yet but after seeing your pie (it looks super yummy even if you say it wasn’t as good as what you had at your first job!) I need to get this book!
tigerfishApril 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm
I think the cinnamon must have toned down the nutty-bitterness in pecans. A good pecan pie anytime for me!
pandaApril 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm
i’ve ordered a copy of this cookbook, just waiting for it get here! after reading this post, i can’t wait for it to get here so i can try the recipe out myself!! love the owls – i’ve got a slight obsession with them and keep wanting to buy anything and everything in the shape of an owl 🙂
foodwinkApril 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm
The pecan pie looks incredible. Bravo! As for owls, they are very much en vogue, aren’t they? I have a current obsession with wooden birdcages. Lucky that they are not readily available here (compared to in East Asia)
AnnApril 29, 2010 at 2:01 am
Ola! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Wow, you have such a visual treat here & beautiful pics.
sweetlifeApril 29, 2010 at 7:09 am
great pie, love the story…I love dorie..her recipes always seem to be spot on
Ellie (Almost Bourdain)April 29, 2010 at 9:28 am
I absolutely love Dorie Greenspan’s pies. This one is no exception. Look gorgeous!
tasteofbeirutApril 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm
Your pie looks so pro! I have yet to make one of Dorie’s recipes but it sounds like she is an amazing coach in the baking field.
graceApril 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm
pecan pie is most definitely a favorite of mine, but not if it’s too gummy or too sweet. i’m glad you found a recipe that suits you!
OohLookBelApril 30, 2010 at 9:43 am
Your pecan pie is delectable! And the closeup photo is gorgeous.
By the way, I remember the first time I had a turkey, cranberry and camembert sandwich – it was at Fast & Fresh, and it’s still my favourite 🙂
Conor @ HoldtheBeefMay 1, 2010 at 1:07 am
I am unable to decide what would be better – having had a bad pecan pie as your first and perhaps never knowing what you are missing, or this situation where you know the joy of a good pecan pie but then are unable to find one to match the first.
I guess you’ll just have to keep making and eating and trying 🙂
EricaMay 1, 2010 at 6:08 am
Love pecan pie! Actually it is my favorite pie 😉 This looks so delicious!
peachkinsMay 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm
this is mouthwatering pie!!!
Maria@TheGourmetChallengeMay 3, 2010 at 3:00 pm
I love your story, so much of food lies in our memories! And the best thing is trying to recreate that taste sensation. I think this pie looks pretty darn good!!
WretchdzMay 4, 2010 at 11:35 am
URGE TO LICK SCREEN.
Ok, I’ll stop there.
That pie looks amazing.
JenMay 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Looks like we have two things in common! Well, three if you include our love for food. But grew up on Chinese/Vietnamese food too, and I have a shopping addiction at Victoria’s Basement, LOL 😉
Friday DelightsJune 25, 2010 at 1:01 am
This is so enticing!!!
EllenOctober 7, 2010 at 1:55 am
Loved this pie. So glad I bought this cook book. Great recipes.
My son wants this pecan pie instead of a birthday cake.
newlywedAugust 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm
Yum, I love pecan pie. In spite of my crazy huge cookbook collection, I’ve yet to buy any of Dorie Greenspan’s. I’ll have to add this one to my wish list.