It’s not that I don’t like a traditional Southern Pecan Pie. I’m pretty sure the distinction is that I’ve just never had the right Southern Pecan Pie.
It’s always a problem of proportions. It’s a problem of what I can only describe as ‘goop’ to crust + nut proportions. I try to keep my ‘goop’ ratios low in the foods that I eat, unless you’re talking about rice pudding, in which case… I’ll race you to the bottom of the pot.
The problem… and there actually is no problem at all with Pecan Pie… is the amount of wiggly corn syrup mixture in a standard pie dish. With just a few cups of pecans, we’re left with an inch and filling wiggle that is just more than I can handle.
When I crossed paths with Deb’s slab-rendition of a traditional Pecan Pie I knew we’d essentially be creating a candy bar inside of a pie crust and SIGN ME UP, thank you. Her recipe also calls for a chocolate ganache (twist my arm), and uses maple syrup or golden syrup instead of the popular corn syrup in a lot of today’s pies.
Added bonus, this pie makes PLENTY so, here we are- suddenly holiday-party-popular!
This recipe is from Deb’s latest book Smitten Kitchen Every Day which, as I’m sure you know, is fantastic!
First things first, do you have butter? Do you have a lot of butter? Great. We’re going to need it.
This recipe comes in three parts. Yes. We’re workin’ for this pie.
Pie Crust will be a familiar combination of flour, sugar, salt, butter, and vvv cold water.
Filling is a chocolate ganache (dear dark chocolate + fine heavy cream) and a syrupy pecan mixture that is a butter, maple syrup, brown sugar combination that’ll send us to the moon and back… or at least to the grocery store and back because this pie has some INGREDIENTSES.
To make the pie crust we’ll start by whisking sugar and salt into flour.
Step by step, a pie is born.
I talked about making pie crust just last week and used the technique of grating frozen butter on a box grater. It’s fast and easy and my new go-to, especially for a slab pie.
The grated butter is lightly tossed with the flour mixture.
With hands, we’ll work the butter into the flour creating a crumbly mixture.
And cold cold water! About 3/4 of a cup until the dough is moist enough to want to come together as a shaggy disk.
One of the disks will become the bottom and sides of our slab pie. That disk should be the larger of the two divided dough disks. The smaller disk we’ll use for the four large lattice stripes.
Divide in two. One slightly larger than the other.
Let’s talk about chocolate! This pie has it, thank the heavens above.
Unlike other pecan pies where we just throw the chocolate pieces in to melt along with the rest of the filling, here we’re making a ganache with chunked up chocolate and heavy cream.
The two will melt together over lot heat creating a smooth and glossy thick chocolate sauce that you’ll be absolutely convinced you can use as an edible face mask but I wouldn’t recommend it. Save it for the pie.
FILLING! We’ll melt together butter, brown sugar, and so much maple syrup you’ll be convinced that you’re very wealthy the way you’re slingin that stuff around.
Once the maple mixture is simmer just so we’ll transfer it to a bowl so it can cool slightly before adding the eggs. We’ve come so far; the last thing we’d want to do is cook eggs into our sugar mixture.
While we wait: cider vinegar (a dash to balance the sweetness) is added along with pure vanilla extract (because we continue to be very well off).
And in with the eggs!
Our PECANS: Toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped. Give a whisk.
After some rest in the refrigerator, our pie disks are rolled.
The larger of the two pieces is rolled to a rough 18 x 13-inch rectangle to accommodate this jelly roll pan.
You can see towards the bottom of the pan I had to do a bit of patching. Nothing is perfect, especially pie.
Remember the chocolate ganache we made? It’s a good thing we didn’t use it as a face mask because this is where it belongs.
The crust and ganache combo will have a quick rest in the freezer, just ten minutes or so, before the filling is poured on top. We want a cold crust to go into the oven.
Also NOTE! When I was pouring my filling into this crust and chocolate combo, I noticed that I had more filling that I needed. This might be the case for you as well and if it is, just try to get as many nuts as you can into the slab pie and save the extra filling for a selfish mini pie using pie scraps.
Drape and trim the edges.
We’ll brush the top of our fat lattice with egg wash and send it off to the oven for a good thirty minutes until it’s golden brown and bubbling.
I like a little bit of insurance so I places the entire pan on a larger sheet pan in case of spillage. There was no spillage.
I love this pie cooled to room temperature. Heck… I also really like it cold, or rewarmed, or upside down, or underwater. It’s good any way you slice it…. though honestly underwater probably isn’t its shining moment.
Because this slab pie has a bottom and top crust, and the filling is spread across a shallow but large surface area, the filling won’t be overly wet and runny. It’s compact. It’s like a candy bar inside of a pie crust and hallelujah, amen! Thank you Deb!
- 3 3/4 cups (490 grams) all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces or 340 grams) unsalted butter, very cold
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) very cold water
- 3 1/2 cups (330 grams) pecan halves
- 8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or about 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 10 tablespoons (145 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 2/3 cups (215 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (235 ml) maple syrup or golden syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- First make the pie dough by hand. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- Add the cold water and stir with a large spoon until large clump form. Use your hands to knead the dough together a few times right in the bottom of the bowl. Divide the dough into two pieces - one slightly larger than the other. The larger piece we'll use as the bottom crust and the smaller piece of dough we'll use to make large lattice strips across the top. Wrap each dough disk and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- To make the filling first place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the pecans on the baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice to toast them evenly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Chop coarsely and place in a bowl until we need them later.
- In a small saucepan combine chocolate chunks and heavy cream. Heat over low until melted amd smooth. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, maple or golden syrup, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans, cider vinegar, and vanilla. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly before whisking in the eggs, 5 minutes should do.
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well combined.
- To assemble the pie, on a lightly floured surface, roll your larger dough piece into a rough 18 x 13-inch rectangle. Do your best to work quickly so the dough doesn't get too warm.
- Transfer the dough to the parchment lined baking sheet and drape it over the bottom, corners, and edges of the pan. If you find that there is some missing crust on some of the edges, trim from where there is overhang and press the crust where it is needed. Where there is overhang of crust, trim so there is just about 1/2 inch over and tuck it in gently.
- Pour the chocolate ganache (you may need to rewarm it just slightly) over the pie crust and freeze the two for 10 minutes.
- While the ganache and crust chills, roll the smaller piece of pie dough into a rough 16 x 11-inch rectangle. Cut four wide strips from the dough and set aside a few moments.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and place on a half sheet pan (for unlikely spillage during baking).
- Pour the filling over the hardened chocolate. I had a little bit of extra filling, so keep an eye out for this and add as many nuts as you can to the pie.
- Drape the lattice strips over the pie and trim and tuck any overhang into the edges.
- Brush the top lightly with beaten egg.
- Place the pie (on it's larger pan) in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is lightly bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to at least room temperature before serving. This pie is also delicious served chilled.
- Pie will last up to 4 days, well wrapped in the refrigerator.