Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie & Bourbon Sauce

One of the most frequent questions we get at NOLA goes, ‘Is it hard to find ingredients for your dishes?’ and the answer is YES.

There is no crawfish.  There are no reasonably priced fresh oysters.  No andouille.  No catfish.  No chilis!  Ohhh the list could go on.

But instead of focusing on the negative let’s look at the positive.

Pecan pie + black sugar.

That we can do in Buenos Aires.  Possibly even better in Buenos Aires because of the black sugar aka azucar negra that’s available.

Black sugar is supposedly only found in South East Asia and around the Andes.  It’s said to be the healthiest natural sweetener in the world and has a very moist texture and a strong molasses taste.

Best of all it’s one of the easiest pastries you can make.

We’ve been experimenting at the restaurant with this recipe.

Sometimes we keep it classic and sometimes we add a touch of orange.

Lately I’ve been adding a tiny bit of dark chocolate and serving it with whipped cream or creme anglaise, both spiked with a bit of bourbon.

The pie can be made the day prior and served at room temperature.  If your’e serving the pie with creme anglaise I recommend warming the pie before consumption.For the dough I use a buttermilk crust.

If you’re in Buenos Aires and have no access to buttermilk, use whole milk with a squeeze of lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 20 minutes in the fridge.  You can also mix together milk and plain yogurt.  Joy has some tips here.  The dough is also her recipe.  Thanks, lady!

If possible make the dough the day prior and leave it in the fridge overnight.  I notice it’s easier to roll out if this is the case.

And don’t be intimated!!  She’s an easy dough to work with.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie  ::

  •  3 large eggs
  • 180 mL water (3/4 cup)
  • 450 grams of black sugar (azucar negra)
  • 20 grams dark chocolate
  • 60 grams melted butter
  • 300 grams pecans, toasted
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla

Bourbon Creme Anglaise  ::

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 3 large yolks
  • 3 TBS sugar
  • splash of bourbon

Buttermilk Crust  :: (via Joy)

  • 225g cold cold butter cut into small dice
  • .5 cup cold milk + big squeeze of lemon
  • 2.5 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar

Start with your crust- 

You want everything super cold.  I like to measure everything out and put them in the freezer for 10 minutes before handling.  OR you can do it in a food processor super fast and place it in the freezer to rest for an hour.  Regardless of your method, it needs to rest for an hour and you want your ingredients cold.

Combine butter with dry ingredients and break up butter with hands/pastry cutter or smash with a rolling paper.  You want super thin sheets of butter.  Throw it back in the freezer for 5 minutes then add your buttermilk and mix until just incorporated.  Don’t knead, don’t smooth it out.  Just get it all together.  Separate the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the freezer or fridge for an hour, minimum.

If using a food processor do the same order- dry ingredients + butter and pulse til sandy.  Then add milk and pulse til it comes together, wrap it up and rest in fridge.  The whole process takes less than 30 seconds.  It’s kind of awesome.

When ready to roll out make sure your surface area is clean and well floured.  Using a rolling-pin roll out dough to desired thickness and cut out into individual pieces.  Grease tins and carefully place the dough in securing the bottom with your knuckles.  You want to be gentle to prevent the dough from breaking and causing leakage.

Once they’re rolled out and in their desired tins pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes.

For the filling-

In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs and water and whisk til the eggs are broken up.

Add sugar and mix til well incorporated.  Add salt, then butter, then vanilla.

I like to add the chocolate and pecans to the empty pie shell to ensure sure every bite has a nice balance of both.  I especially do this if I’m making individual pies.

Place the pecans and chocolate in the pie shell and ladle the filling in.

You don’t want to add too much!!!

Definitely leave some space from the top of the crust as the filling will rise once it’s baked.  And if there is too much it’s very likely to stick and possibly make your crust a bit soggy.

For the bourbon creme anglaise –

Combine milk and cream and scrape in vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the yolks and sugar.  You’ll want to blanchir, which means whisk them til they’re pale, almost white.

Temper the mix by adding a bit of warm milk into the bowl of eggs & sugar and whisk well.

Pour the egg mix into the pot with the rest of the milk and return it to the heat.

Very carefully continue to cook the sauce constantly stirring with a wooden spoon.

Cook til the sauce is nappant aka, coats the back of a spoon.

You need to be careful with this sauce!  It can easily overcook and will curdle and you’ll have to start over (or throw it into the blender and strain) so make sure you’re not distracted once you start the sauce.

To finish the creme anglaise add a splash of bourbon, mix and serve.

If you wish to make the sauce in advance place the sauce over an ice bath and continue stirring til it’s cooled.  Place in refrigerator til ready to use.

When ready to serve place the warm pecan pie on a deep plate and spoon the creme anglaise on top.

*The first photo is pictured with whipped cream with bourbon, not the creme anglaise.  So don’t freak out if you’re creme anglaise doesn’t look like the photo because it shouldn’t!!