Recipe by Justin Burke-Samson of Kindred in Charlotte, North Carolina
For the crust:
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
⅓ cup ice water
For the filling:
¾ cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups pecans halves, toasted, ½ cup finely chopped
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate morsels)
Garnish: Unsweetened whipped cream, shaved dark chocolate, and fleur de sel
Burke-Samson hated pecan pie as a kid. "It's this thick layer of corn syrup topped with nuts, and is always so sweet." This recipe uses half as much sugar as most and balances the sweetness with dark chocolate. Sugar is caramelized to amp up the nuttiness, and he resolves the congealed-layer-of-corn-syrup issue by mixing it with the pecans.
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand with a few pea-size pieces. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at time, until the mixture comes together. Turn dough onto a work surface and divide in half. Wrap each half with plastic wrap, flatten, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight (for a flakier crust).
Remove one disk of dough. On a well-floured work surface, roll it into a circle that’s about 12 inches wide and ⅛-inch thick. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Press dough gently to fit the pan, trimming excess overhang to about 1 inch from rim of pie pan. Roll overhang over itself, creating a rounded edge. Crimp edge as desired. Wrap pie shell with plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until shell is light brown and center is firm and dry. Remove parchment and weights. Set aside to cool.
Make the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and ½ cup water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Once dissolved, place saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil; do not move pan. When syrup has turned light brown, swirl pan to evenly caramelize for about 4 minutes. Once sugar is golden brown, reduce heat to medium and carefully pour in corn and maple syrups. Be careful; the mixture will sputter. Whisk continuously for 2 minutes or until clumps are gone. Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Whisking constantly, slowly pour sugar mixture into egg mixture a little at a time, tempering eggs. Once all of sugar mixture has been added, whisk and pass mixture through a fine mesh strainer to ensure filling is smooth. Add whole and chopped pecans.
Arrange chocolate over bottom of pie shell. Pour filling over chocolate, up to base of crimped edges. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until filling has puffed up and doesn’t jiggle. Let cool on a wire rack. Before serving, top with unsweetened whipped cream, shaved dark chocolate, and fleur de sel.