Here’s a truth in my house: my family truly could not care less what I make for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s true. As long as I make this pie. Yes, it really is that good! I have made it every year since I saw the recipe in 2001!
I think my son may even request this pie as a replacement for his Birthday Cake. It is also a spectacular Christmas or New Years dessert as well. So if you are looking for a great addition to that menu, please try this pie. It may become your favorite as well!
This pie is a wonderful twist on traditional pecan pie. Bits of bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened coconut flakes are added to the filling, along with toasted salted pecans for a delicious contrasting crunch. All of those goodies are poured into a very lightly sweetened cocoa crust. Can anyone resist?
Like I said, I first made this pie in 2001. It was so delicious, I made it the next year, and the next, and , well, I couldn’t find anything that sounded better the following year, so I made it again. I guess that is how traditions are formed. Now, my family makes sure that it’s on the menu for at least one of the winter holidays.
This year, I did make one change. Instead of the corn syrup in the original recipe, I substituted a mixture of maple syrup and molasses. I thought it added a wonderful maple-y flavor, but the filling did not bake up as firm. To me, flavor is king, so, this is likely a permanent change, and the difference was so slight. But if all you have is corn syrup, trust me, it is perfectly fantastic!
Let me know if you decide to give this recipe a try. I hope it will become a tradition in your home as well! Enjoy!
Chocolate and Coconut Pecan Tart
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, November, 2001)
For the crust:
1 1/2 c AP flour
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, well-chilled and cut into small pieces
3 large egg yolks
For the filling:
1 c pure maple syrup (I use B-grade)
1 T molasses
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c melted butter
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate or chips, chopped into small chunks
3/4 c plus 3 T shredded unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 c roasted and salted pecan halves (7-8 oz)
First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 375F. Place flour, cocoa, sugar and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk or stir with a spoon. Add the bits of butter. Cut in with a pastry blender or work with fingertips until mixture is like a coarse grain. Whisk together egg yolks and stir into the mixture. Stir in for about 20-30 seconds. Mixture will still be quite dry, but should hold together if you squeeze it. Press into bottom and up sides of 10-11″ Springform pan. Bake 15 mins until set. Cool while you prepare the filling.
Reset oven temperature to 350F.
For the filling, whisk the following together in a medium bowl: maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar and melted butter. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in 1/2 c chocolate chips, 3/4 c coconut and the pecans. Pour into the baked crust. Bake about 40 min. until filling is golden brown and filling is set.
Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips in a circle around the tart. Wait 5 minutes until the chips look meaty. Spread smooth with a knife. This will form a 1-inch ring around the edge of the tart. Immediately sprinkle the remaining 3 T shredded coconut atop the chocolate ring. Admire your work.
Cool and keep at room temperature until serving. You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator or at room temperature, loosely covered with foil.