As the cold, dark nights draw closer, cosy cooking makes a come back and this 2012 Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite is the man to do it. Try this mouth-wateringly tasty chocolate pie to warm your tastebuds. For more delicious recipes, pick up your copy of HELLO! out now.
Pecan, cranberry and dark chocolate pie
"The deep treacly tones of classic pecan pie are perfect as they are. But I do think this version is hard to beat. Cranberries, with their subtle tang, and rich dark chocolate make the perfect foil against all the sweetness. I go a step further and first burn the butter to achieve a better depth of flavour, but you can just melt it if you prefer."
Preparation time 45 minutes, plus chilling and setting time
Cooking time 35-40 minutes
For the pastry (or just use 1 x 300g block of ready-made shortcrust pastry)
- 125g/4 1/2oz unsalted butter, softened
- 50g/2oz caster sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 200g/7oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- Pinch of fine sea salt
For the filling
- 100g/4oz pecans
- 80g/3 1/2oz unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tbsp treacle
- 100g/4oz light brown muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp bourbon whiskey
- 1 large egg
- 75g/3oz dried cranberries
For the ganache
- • 75g/3oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- • 75ml/3fl oz double cream
- • 2 tsp bourbon whiskey
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6.
- For the pastry, cream the butter and sugar as though you were making a cake. Once the sugar has more or less dissolved into the butter, add the egg and beat in – don’t worry if it curdles. Add the flour and salt and cut in using a dough scraper or butter knife. Once the mixture starts to clump together, briefly knead it until smooth. Flatten the pastry into a disc, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, scatter the pecans onto a baking tray and roast for 5-10 minutes in the oven, just until they dry out a little and start to release their sweet, nutty aroma. Remove the pecans from the oven and set aside until needed.
- When the pastry has chilled, flour the worktop and roll the pastry out as thinly as you can manage without it becoming far too delicate to handle. Lay the pastry into a 20cm/8in fluted tart tin, ensuring you press it firmly into the grooves of the tin. Prick the base of the pastry repeatedly with a fork to ensure it doesn’t balloon up while baking. Scrunch a sheet of baking paper into a ball then unwrap it and lay it into the pastry case. Fill with baking beans or dried rice and blind-bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper, then bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and reduce the heat to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
- For the filling, put the butter into a small saucepan and set over a high heat. Allow the butter to sizzle and melt, and once melted, swirling the pan every so often as it bubbles and spatters. Once the bubbles turn to a fine, cappuccino-like foam, and the butter smells nutty, remove the pan from the heat and add the syrup, treacle, brown sugar and bourbon. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, before beating in the egg until you have a very smooth, velvety sauce.
- Reserve 3 of the best looking pecans for the top and then scatter the rest into the base of the pastry case along with the cranberries. Carefully pour the sauce over the top, leaving enough room for the chocolate ganache layer, which comes later. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the centre of the pie is set but ever so slightly soft – prod it gently to find out. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
- For the ganache, put the chocolate and cream and bourbon into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt into the cream, stirring occasionally, until you have a smooth, glossy ganache. Stir in the bourbon. Pour the ganache over the tart, just until it threatens to leak over the pastry wall. Dot the reserved pecans on top, and then leave to set at room temperature until thick – a good hour or two.
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