February 1, 2012 by A to Ziti
This time of year isn’t what I’d really consider “pie” season, if there is such a thing. Granted, “Thanksgiving desserts” conjure up images of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie. I suppose November-ish would be the most optimal season for pies. Then there’s late-summer when peaches and cherries are at their optimal abundance and juiciness. I would give summer the “pie-season” title too.
Then there’s late January, early February. Um?
Citrus desserts, like the Cara Cara Orange Flan my mom made in her cooking class the other night, are at their best this time of year. (I wasn’t there for the class, but you can imagine the open-mouth drool action when I saw her pictures on Facebook.) But what about pies this time of year?
I’ve been hunkering down in this spring-like winter weather with a great book, called Good Grief. I don’t know how it ended up in my bedroom. Maybe Amy left it for me when she purged her apartment in a 36-hour “Oh I’m moving to Texas!” frenzy? I’m so glad I noticed it the other night on my nightstand as I was in desperate need for a good book. I started reading it, thinking if it completely blows, then at least I will fall into a deep sleep. I was already in bed so what was the harm in that? Five pages in, I was bawling my eyes out and laughing on the next page. If you’ve ever lost someone important in your life, be it a father (ahem), a mother, a sibling or in the case of this book, a husband, I feel like you can relate to the batshit craziness Sophie endures as she copes with her grief. Craziness with humor – my favorite kind.
As she’s dreading her first Thanksgiving without her husband, she begins a maniacal marathon of pie baking. Daunted by the abundance of pies, she stashes them in her car so she doesn’t find herself gorging on pies all day long. Reading the pages of her pre-Thanksgiving bake-fest, I found myself salivating from the description of the aromas through my tears and laughter. It’s been a long time since I’ve had pie. At least since Thanksgiving and that’s just plum too long.
While the girls were at school yesterday, channeling my inner Sophie, I baked a pie. It had to be fate for me to read this book and select this pie to make because I swear to the Baby Jesus, I had every single thing (and I mean EVERYTHING) in my pantry. I even had dark corn syrup and dark brown sugar, not just light. I even had gourmet chocolate my mom had shoved into my cupboard when she was de-stashing her suitcase from one of her foodie conferences she so often attends – I love those free samples. I even had pecans. What?! I had made chicken pot pie last week and still had a pie crust left in the fridge.
I can’t wait to have another slice after dinner tonight and curl up with this book. I hereby declare February Chocolate Turtle Pie season.
If you love pecan pie, then you’ll love this even more because it’s pecan pie, with chocolate. It takes less than 15 minutes to throw together and under an hour to bake. Try not to eat the whole thing like I’ve almost done. The gooey layer of caramel-ish buttery heaven sinks to the bottom and gets the crust nice and soft, while the pecans and chocolate float to the top further enhancing the delectable texture of this easy pie. I skipped on the whipped cream seeing as how I already felt guilty for shoving pie in my face on a Tuesday afternoon, but I highly recommend it.
chocolate turtle pie (page 105, Small Sweet Treats)
1 (10-inch) quality store-bought pie crust
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark chocolate bits
2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
bourbon whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon or dark rum
Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan and crimp the edges; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt until well combined. Stir in the chocolate and pecans. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350-degree-F oven for 45 to 50 minutes just until the crust turns a light golden brown and the top of the pie is firm. Remove from oven; cool 1 hour before slicing into 10 thin wedges.
In a mixer bowl, beat the cream with the sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the bourbon or rum and beat until stiff peaks form, another minute on medium speed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with Bourbon Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.