In my corner of the world, we’re already beginning to deck the halls. But our neighbors to the south are still stuck on a holiday we bid adieu to a month and a half ago. Yes, American Thanksgiving is coming this Thursday and, man, it’s been a thorn in my side for my entire life. This isn’t even remotely America’s fault. My dislike for their late-in-the-game holiday has everything to do with my impatience. You see, when I was a kid, my mother would insist that we not launch into Christmas-mode until after American Thanksgiving. Well, as a Christmas-loving kid, I was not at all impressed with the tardy Turkey day and I grew to hate it. For whatever reason, this unfair disdain for the holiday lingers but this Chocolate Marsala Pecan Pie is helping me change that.
The best thing about being a food blogger is you can pretty much mark any food-centric holiday. Plenty of bloggers whip up something special for Cinco de Mayo or Robbie Burns Day or Chinese New Year whether it’s a part of their background or not. It’s kind of neat. A blog is that little push to research what other cultures celebrate and how they celebrate it. And while your newbie status bars you from fully experiencing a-new-to-you-holiday, you can expose yourself to a small part of it. It’s really lovely. More than any other social activity, I feel celebrations highlight the similarities between us regardless of what part of the globe we inhabit.
Today’s Chocolate Marsala Pecan Pie doesn’t really force me out of my comfort zone. To be fair, most of the Thanksgiving traditions carried out in the US are practiced here in Canada as well. But during our Thanksgiving this year I didn’t get a chance to make my usual pecan pie. So, American Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect excuse for a do-over. No one’s going to argue with pecan pie in November, Thanksgiving or not.
I also chose to celebrate American Thanksgiving because most of my readers are in the US. A lot of them seemed to be in California for whatever reason. Perhaps there’s some novelty in watching someone struggle their way through winter from somewhere warm? I don’t really know. Hi guys! Is it nice where you are? I bet it is. It really isn’t here but I’m sure you knew that. Anyway, so since most of you are celebrating this Thursday I thought I’d join you in spirit. This Chocolate Marsala Pecan Pie is totally what I would bring to your house if I could get there…and if I was invited.
This pie is every ounce as sinful as it sounds. Pecans are rich. Marsala wine is rich. Chocolate is rich. This pie is rich. You can really only justify making this beast if you’re celebrating…and feeding it to more than just yourself. That last part is key.
The recipe for this Chocolate Marsala Pecan Pie is very straight forward. You don’t need to be a pie whiz to make this you just have to want it and, come on, it isn’t hard to want. Most of the ingredients are things that would find their way onto any holiday shopping list except for the Marsala wine. If you’re not familiar, Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Italy. It’s a very flavorful and versatile ingredient, so don’t worry about being left with nearly a full bottle post pie. You can also use Marsala wine in savory recipes too, like this recipe, for example.
Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! This pie’s for you.
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/8-1/4 cup cold water
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- 115g (4oz) bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 cup Marsala wine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100g (3.5oz) pecan pieces
- Pecan halves to garnish
- Place the flour and salt in a large food processor and blitz until just combined.
- Set the food processor to its lowest setting and add the butter piece by piece. Blitz until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- With the food processor still running, stream in the cold water. Only use enough to prompt the dough to form.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and flatten into a disc. Dust with flour and wrap in the plastic wrap. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
- After chilling, place the dough on a floured surface. Let sit for 15 minutes to soften slightly. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thick.
- Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Trim and crimp the edges and return the pastry to the fridge. Let chill for 1 hour.
- While the pastry is chilling, preheat the oven to 375F.
- Place eggs, sugar and syrup in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is just melted. Give the mixture a quick stir to integrate the butter into the chocolate.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Add the wine, vanilla, and salt, and stir until smooth. Stir in the pecan pieces and pour the filling into the chilled pastry shell.
- Decorate the surface of the filling with pecan halves. If desired, coat pecan halves with a little corn syrup and dust with gold luster.
- Bake the pie for 45 minutes or until the pie is set but still a little jiggly in the center. Let the pie cool completely before slicing.