Black Bottom Pecan Pie

This black bottom pecan pie from Ovenly, an incredible combination of dark chocolate covered with a candied, custardy, pecan layer, completely changes our pie game. Choosing between sweet potato pie and pecan pie is no longer an issue.

Several slices of black bottom pecan pie next to a full black bottom pecan pie with a few forks scattered around.

Adapted from Agatha Kulaga | Erin Patinkin | Ovenly | Park Row, 2021

As a bakery, we specialize in that magic intersection between savory & sweet. As a business, we believe in equal parts joy & disruption.–Agatha Kulaga

HOW LONG WILL MY BLACK BOTTOM PECAN PIE LAST?

According to FDA guidelines, most pies will last up to 3 to 4 days, in the refrigerator. The beauty of this pie, however, is the dark chocolate layer between the flaky crust and the custardy, nutty layer. As our tester, Jack V. said, “The chocolate kept the bottom crust wonderfully crunchy for three days (possibly longer, but there was none left to check).” It’s just too delicious to last that long.

Black Bottom Pecan Pie

Several slices of black bottom pecan pie next to a full black bottom pecan pie with a few forks scattered around.
This black bottom pecan pie is an incredible combination of dark chocolate covered with a candied, custardy, pecan layer.
Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin

Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Total 4 hrs
Dessert
American
8 servings
648 kcal
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Ingredients 

For the pie dough

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter chilled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the pie filling

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate 60% cocoa
  • 2 cups pecans roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions
 

Make the pie dough

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • Add in the cubed butter, tossing the cubes in the flour and coating them evenly. Using your fingers, rub the butter cubes into the flour until they are the size of walnut halves.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and pour in the cold water a few tablespoons at a time, and mix until the dough is just combined. You will clearly see butter cubes in the dough, and that is fine.
  • Shape the dough into a 1-inch (25-mm) thick rectangle and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and place on the prepared surface. Roll the dough until it is 1/3-inch (8-mm) thick. Fold it in half, then in half again and roll it to 1/3-inch (8-mm) thick. Repeat one more time, rolling into a 12-inch (30-cm) circle.
  • Fold the dough lightly into quarters and gently transfer it into a 9-inch (23-cm) pie plate. Unfold the dough. Lightly press the dough against the sides and bottom of the plate.
  • Use scissors to trim the overhang on the edges to a 1-inch (25-mm) overhang. Tuck the excess dough under, and then crimp the edges or press with a fork to decorate. Freeze for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • Remove dough from the freezer and press a square of parchment paper onto the dough and fill it fully with pie weights (or dried beans). Par-bake the chilled, weighted pie crust until the crimped edges just begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake until the base appears dry and set, 1 to 2 minutes more. Cool completely before filling and baking.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 375°F (191°C).

Prepare the filling

  • In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15-second increments at 50% power, stirring between each increment. Let the chocolate cool.
  • Spread the melted and cooled chocolate in an even layer over the par-baked crust. Scatter the chopped pecans over the chocolate.
  • Crack eggs into a small bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt, and almond extract on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.
  • With the mixer running, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed until both are well combined into the batter.
  • Gently pour the custard over the chopped pecans and lightly smooth with a spatula.
  • Bake until the custard appears set at the edges of the pie but is still slightly jiggly in the center, and the internal temperature has reached 200°F (93°C), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature before serving.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 648kcal (32%)Carbohydrates: 64g (21%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 42g (65%)Saturated Fat: 16g (100%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 96mg (32%)Sodium: 277mg (12%)Potassium: 321mg (9%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 42g (47%)Vitamin A: 651IU (13%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 92mg (9%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

As a person who would have rather gone without dessert as a child than have to eat pecan pie, it is without any sense of sarcasm I proclaim this an excellent recipe. I was prepared to pass this test by, imagining the same sickly-sweet gloopy interiors of my youth, but the black bottom, lack of corn syrup, and unusual method for laminating the crust drew me in.

Being someone who formerly dreaded making pie dough, this recipe came together without a hitch and produced one of the flakiest pie crusts I have ever eaten. The laminating that results from the folds created something that rose similar to puff pastry and had the crunch of phyllo. While the final roll did want to resist rolling and the folding process really made attempting a circle difficult, it made a 12" square with ease that never cracked or tore and I just trimmed off the extras for pie crust cookies. Make sure you have an adequate amount of pie weights that fills the crust all the way up, because otherwise the upper parts of the crust will puff a lot.

Then the pie itself, is a thing of beauty. I only needed 5 extra minutes to get the filling to the slightly jiggly stage, confirming it was 200°F (93°C) when I pulled it from the oven. The top becomes crisp and caramelized like candy, with a brown sugar nut custard above a sliver of chocolate. The chocolate kept the bottom crust wonderfully crunchy for three days (possibly longer, but there was none left to check) and the toasty flavor of the pecans was very prominent. Some diehard traditionalists may be disappointed with the final appearance since spreading the chopped pecans across the chocolate first holds some of them to the bottom, preventing them from rising to the top and forming the pie's iconic cobblestone shield. I'm sure this could be corrected by allowing the chocolate layer to harden before adding the pecans, but personally, I loved having them interspersed throughout the layers of filling.

Everyone who ate this black bottom pecan pie loved it and marveled at the crust. Maybe if this had been on the table when I was a kid I would have changed my tune years ago.

A side view of a slice of black bottom pecan pie.

All of my pecan pies will be black-bottomed from now on. Pecan pie has never been a favorite of mine. Because there is so much sugar involved, it is usually too sickeningly sweet to be enjoyable. But this recipe does two things right: it uses maple syrup and dark brown sugar instead of corn syrup, and it has a dark chocolate bottom, that cuts through the sweetness with every bite.

The crust was beautifully flaky and easy to work with. I am used to handling pie dough as little as possible, so the directions to keep folding and rolling had me worried. But the result was beautiful layers of crust that were tender and crisp. Total black bottom pecan pie perfection.

I wish I had cut my pecans a bit smaller. I left them the size of pennies but it was a bit messy to cut with large pieces. In the future I’ll cut them the size of peas. I served this pie with rum raisin ice cream and decaf coffee.

OMG, I think this black bottom pecan pie is the best recipe I have tested! This pie was delicious, the chocolate and pecans together are an excellent combination. Most pecan pie recipes use corn syrup but this recipe uses maple syrup and brown sugar which gives the filling a more caramel flavor with the nuts and chocolate, all the ingredients work well together.

Almost as good as the pie filling was the crust. I've never made a crust like this before; it was more like a puff pastry. Leaving the butter in cubes, chilling and rolling the dough several times resulted in a tender flaky crust, perfect with the filling. I will try this crust recipe with other fillings, it was just that good.

My only criticism of the crust, perhaps it’s my own inexperience, is that the crust did not hold all the filling. There is a lot in this pie, chocolate, nuts and custard. When crimping the edges of the crust I did not make the crust stand up high enough to hold all the filling. I might try a higher crimp or I may use a 10" pie plate next time so as not to waste a drop of the filling. Because my pie was filled to the brim there was a little bit of leakage that got under the crust during baking. Didn't affect the flavor at all, just a little more difficult to cut and serve the pie. So, I may not have the prettiest pie but it was certainly the tastiest.


Originally published April 21, 2021

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