Chocolate Pecan Pie is the deceptively simple dessert of your dreams that will be the first to disappear at every holiday! It’s make ahead friendly, made with ONE BOWL and either store-bought or homemade pie crust that won’t shrink into the filling and is 100% foolproof thanks to my tips and video tutorial. This recipe is leveled up with dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, dark corn syrup, and a touch of cinnamon and both chopped and whole pecans for the ultimate chocolaty, buttery, nutty, caramel-like filling.
Pecan pie is an old-fashioned southern dessert; a delightful play of creamy, crunchy textures and rich, sweet and salty flavors. It’s made by pouring pecans into a pie shell and topping with a filling made with butter, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup. As the pie bakes, the filling thickens into a silky custard, pushing the pecans to the top of the pie.
As with all classic recipes, countless variations have emerged over the years. Some popular additions include molasses, bourbon, rum, whiskey, butterscotch, maple, pumpkin, shredded coconut, and chocolate like I’m sharing with you today! There are also countless pecan pie spin-offs like pecan hand pies, pecan pie cookies, pecan pie brownies, pecan pie bars, chocolate pecan pie bars, pecan pie cobbler and pecan pie-cheesecake.
A runny filling indicates that the pie wasn’t baked long enough or wasn’t allowed to cool completely:
-Bake long enough: Most recipes require 50-60 minutes of baking time, but depending on the oven, your pie might take up to 90 minutes!
Due to the baking variables, always use an instant read thermometer and bake the filling until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
-Cool completely: Wait until the pie cools to room temperature before cutting into it because the filling continues to cook and set as the pie cools. To correct a runny filling, cover the pie with foil and place it back in the oven until at 425 to 450 F for about 12-15 minutes.
Over-mixing the filling creates air bubbles which creates the foam. Take care to just whisk the filling until combined. Room temperature eggs also make the filling easier to combine.
A cracked pie indicates that the pecan pie was baked too long or refrigerated before it cooled completely. Next time, use an instant read thermometer and bake just until the internal temperature of the pie reaches 200 degrees F and only refrigerate after the pie reaches room temperature.
To fix your cracked pie, top with a layer of whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped pecans and/or cinnamon.
A hard pecan pie means it was cooked too long. Again, bake the pie just until the filling is set and registers 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer. You can also try covering the top of the pie with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time and/or baking the pie on a lower rack.
A grainy pecan pie filling is a sign the pecan pie is overbaked. When the eggs overcook, they cause a grainy texture. Bake the pie just until the filling reaches 200 degrees F. You may also want to verify your oven is accurate with an oven thermometer (don’t trust your dial). Pecan pie baked at too hot a temperature may cause the egg custard to break and weep, and/or become grainy.
Brush the whole chopped pecans with melted butter to prevent burning. For chopped pecans, make sure they are completely submerged in the filling before baking, using a spatula, as needed, to press them down. Keep an eye on the filling. If it starts to brown too quickly, be ready to cover the entire pie with foil.
To ensure a crispy, golden pie crust:
1. Brush the entire crust with an egg wash before blind baking and adding the filling. The egg wash acts as a moisture barrier and prevents a soggy crust.
2. Keep the pie shell chilled until it is time to blind bake, otherwise the butter and shortening will start to melt.
3. Blind bake the pie crust by filling the pie shell with parchment paper followed by pie weights and bake until the pastry is pale but not raw. Cool completely before adding the filling.
4. Stick with the measurements in the recipe. Extra filling can also cause a soggy crust.
The filling can leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult. To prevent this, brush the entire crust with an egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream, before blind baking.
Do not over fill your pie plate to avoid a sticky mess inside your oven. Make sure you are using the correct pie pan for the recipe and measure the ingredients accurately. Also, don’t over whisk the filling. You can bake your pecan pie on a preheated rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflow.
The edges of the pie crust will likely need to be covered during the baking, so don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge the pie doneness. Never shorten the baking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust. Instead, when the crust is browned to your desired doneness, cover the crust edges with foil or I use this pie shield to avoid burning.
Cool the pie for at least 2 hours on a wire rack before serving. Cutting into a hot pie will cause it to collapse because the filling is not set yet. Also, placing a hot or warm pie into the fridge will also cause it to collapse because the temperature difference is too drastic (just like cheesecake).
Preventing pecans from sinking in a pie can be a common challenge when making pecan pie. However, this recipe tackles this issue by using chopped pecans which more evenly distribute throughout the filling and provide a stable base to top with a design of whole pecans which will stay on top. For further troubleshooting, make sure the filling has the right consistency. If the filling is too runny, the pecans are more likely to sink.
Chocolate pecan pie is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie registers 195-200 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer (highly recommend one!) to see when the pie is done, tap the center surface of the pie lightly – it should spring back when done. Shake the pan, the center should be mostly set and only jiggle slightly.
Yes, after the pecan pie has cooled, it should only be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours because the pie contains eggs that can grow bacteria in temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. You will need to serve the pecan pie within two hours or transfer it to the refrigerator or freezer.
Pecan pie is as American as Thanksgiving itself. Pecans are native to America, originally cultivated alongside the Mississippi river then propagated by Native Americans as far north as Illinois. After the Civil War, commercial developers began growing pecans in Georgia which remains the top producers of pecans to this day.
The earliest printed pecan pie recipes appear in Texas cookbooks in the 1870s, but pecan pie didn’t become popular nationwide until the 1920s when Karo Syrup began printing a recipe for pecan pie on cans of its product.
So, how exactly did pecan pie become a Thanksgiving staple? Thanks to a perfect storm of pecan harvesting between October and December and the need to use the surplus, the advent of corn syrup, and the fact that pecans are native to the states, along with our other native foods like turkey, pumpkin, and cranberries. And let’s not forget the fact that homemade pecan pie is delicious. It’s just the perfect fit.
How you pronounce pecan depends on where you are from. The pronunciation varies from pee-KAHNs to pee-CANs, PEE-cans, pick-AHNs. I’m from California and have always said pick-AHNs.
Studies shows that pee-KAHN is dominant nationwide, but in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi, pick-AHN is the most popular. PEE-can is popular on the East Coast and in New England, while PEE-kahn is the most popular in Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. How do YOU say pecans?