baking

pumped up pecan pie

We’re hosting Christmas in SF again this year, and I’m so excited for: avoiding holiday highway traffic, driving by Tom and Jerry’s wild and wacky Christmas display, cooking up a storm with Anna in the kitchen, decorating the tree and arranging the presents just so, enjoying a glass of wine with a house full of roasting turkey aroma. I’m very lucky that the main deal, the Christmas meal itself, is a collaborative affair with B’s mom Anna expertly navigating us through the menu. This allows me to take my rightful place, as the slower, clumsy sous chef always standing at the ready.

Another thing I am looking forward to is making dessert. The Christmas dinner dessert, I believe, should be a comforting classic but with an enticing element of excitement. I don’t need a spectacular show-stopper because the meal itself is so rich and hearty – and I definitely don’t need something so complicated as to set myself up for a flailing failure either. Last year, I made a fragrant bourbon pumpkin pie with pecan streusel. This year, I’ve decided to go the way of a pecan pie, and this salted chocolate pecan pie  will please a lot of different tastes. Its gooey and sweet but also a touch salty like the best caramel, crunchy and nutty chock full of sweet pecans, and crumbly with smooth pockets of intense chocolate. If you or your loved ones are fans of any of the above, then this should be your Christmas dessert, too.

Some notes on this recipe: I recommend toasting the pecans to round out the flavors. Also I royally failed on the crust end. I think what happened was that the pie was too full and some of that caramel like filling oozed over the edge and behind the crust: effectively super-glueing the pie crust to my dish. I had to chisel out shards of pie crust and the plated dish was more like chocolate caramel pecan cobbler (a delicious, delicious, cobbler). So use whatever crust (ready-bought or from scratch) that you like but watch the level of the filling, chill the dough, and flour that crust before laying it in the dish. Or, just get out some bowls for a scrumptious cobbler and call it a success.

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