Ok, I admit it: I went back to pie again. I couldn’t help myself. I needed a guest-friendly dessert for Sunday lunch – i.e., NOT the sort of thing the Other Half and I sit snaffling by ourselves in a corner – and there was a really lovely photo of it in my pie book, and, you know. Pecans are health food.

Enter, stage right, the chocolate pecan pie. First came the construction of the chocolate pastry. You may remember, and I certainly do, how much more ludicrously difficult pastry becomes once there’s a tiny bit of cocoa in the mix. It’s much less resilient and sticks to absolutely everything, regardless of how much flour you’ve thrown around your kitchen. I wasn’t doing too badly this time – the pastry was actually coming together in a ball and everything – and then I remembered I’d forgotten to add the sugar. This makes the second time in as many days, by the way, that I’ve forgotten to add sugar to something that needed it (subliminal message from my teeth?). So I just poured two tablespoons on top of the already-formed pastry and rubbed it in a bit. Not terribly professional, and it meant the pastry was worked harder than it should have been. Still, after fifteen minutes in the fridge it rolled out without too much trouble, and we got it into the pie dish with the aid of four spatulas.

Flour and spatula both in evidence here.

Next, the filling. The recipe called for 200g chopped pecans and 75g chopped dark chocolate to be scattered over the pastry base. Well, you wouldn’t believe how large a pile of nuts I ended up with. (Was this recipe written by a squirrel?) I got about three-quarters of the pecans in the dish and all of the chocolate pieces, and they weren’t so much ‘scattered’ as ‘crammed’. Fewer pecans next time, I think, and more chocolate. I mean, how much protein does one dessert need?

Over this goes the syrupy liquid that binds the filling together. This was a mixture of sugar, golden syrup and three beaten eggs. Finally, you cut the remaining pastry into strips and make a lattice top. I tried to make a more geometrically pleasing lattice this time, as my last was a little wonky.

And after thirty-five minutes in the oven, it’s done.

By golly, it looks impressive. We all oohed a little as it came out of the oven.

The proof comes in the eating, though, and while it was lovely – the chocolate complimenting the pecans delightfully – I think there are improvements to be made. This is a very nut-heavy pie, unsurprisingly, and it would be stickier and moister with fewer pecans (I think I slightly overcooked it as well, which didn’t help). Secondly, of course, it’s not a good idea to forget a key pastry ingredient and fold it in half-heartedly once the pastry is already formed. Even if it did give my teeth a rest after the dental horrors of Easter.

Deliciousness: As Cadbury’s have long known, nuts and chocolate make an excellent pairing. There were occasional puddly bits of chocolate in the middle, too, which was yummy. Good with vanilla ice cream, I can attest.

Complexity: Oh, chocolate pastry. One of these days, I will conquer you without the need for spatula intervention.

Washing-up pile: Quite a bit – I forgot to count, but it included two mixing bowls, a pie dish, many utensils and four large spatulas.

Casualties: Flour, flour everywhere. And still the pastry stuck to everything. My poor kitchen.

Postscript: More leftover pastry this week, and today the Other Half was aided and abetted in his experiments by his favourite little sister. They were very proud indeed of the Nutella-stuffed chocolate pastry sprinkled doughnut of glory they made together…

A masterpiece. There is no other word.

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