Monday, December 24, 2012

Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie(s)

Sarah's husband Chris is spending his first Christmas in our home, and on the drive here he asked her what sorts of holiday traditions we have together.  Sarah's answer was mostly "Well, we cook, and then we eat, and then we make dessert and then....oh we go on a Christmas Eve ride in our jammies to see the lights!  But mostly we cook."

This is a fairly accurate picture of our holiday celebrations at our Mom's (and our Dad's!), and we love every minute.  For our family, food encompasses what we think is most important about the holidays.  We spend time together cooking, share creative new ideas, give one another new recipes and new tastes, and most of all enjoy talking over a good, well-made meal. Mum makes our favorite meals from when we were kids, Sarah whips up new soup versions, Kate crafts new pies and I fill in the gaps.  There's pie for breakfast Christmas morning and a Christmas buffet feast with our closest family friends. I'm currently eating dark chocolate mousse Sarah whipped up for dessert after Mum made her famous oven-fried chicken.

So while we are about to flood your blog feed with various recipes (including the long-ago promised Thanksgiving pies) we hope you'll be happy to allow us to share the various things simmering (metaphorically and literally) on our stove at the moment.

And now the bittersweet chocolate pecan pies.

yes, I said pies, plural

In the annual pie recipe email frenzy, I sent Kate a version of bittersweet chocolate pecan, thinking it sounded like a new and improved version of an old favorite.

same angle, different pie.  same concept, different recipe.

We made this version for Thanksgiving, and it was phenomenal.  It's essentially a normal pecan pie covered with a bittersweet chocolate ganache, except instead of corn syrup it uses honey and brown sugar, hooray!  This pie is Peter's new favorite Thanksgiving pie, and it was far above better than the usual corn syrupy, overly sweet incarnation.

contestant #1

A few weeks later, I had a holiday party and a specific request for a pecan pie, but I could not crawl back to a classic corn syrup filled one when I knew better was out there (yes, sometimes pie recipe finding is a bit like dating).  Unfortunately, multiple phone calls to Kate went unreturned (cough, cough) and thus I was sent to the interwebs alone.  I found this version instead, more of a dark chocolate pie studded with pecans  I added a generous handful of extra pecans and it received rave reviews at the party.

contestant #2

Both pies come highly recommended.  The ganache version is richer, and closer to a classic pie, while the southern chocolate is smoother and more adventurous.  Either way, you can't lose when you add chocolate to pie, right? Win-win.

Happy Holidays, and may you enjoy your family and food as much as we.

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