This is my dad’s favorite “pie,” and I gotta say, it’s damn good. I made it for the first time last Christmas, and I think I’ll likely be making it every year until the end of time.
I’m using air quotes ’cause calling this a Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie (as the original recipe does) implies something this is not. Calling anything “Pecan Pie” calls forth an egg and corn syrup filling that is a very distinct flavor and is nothing like what’s going on with this dessert: straight up layers of caramel and chocolate with pecans on the bottom and in the middle.
The key to this “tart” is the pecan crust. You can’t skip the pecan crust – since that’s mainly where the pecan flavor comes in. If you’re feeling profoundly lazy or don’t have a Costco membership (for cheap pecans), you could sort of get away with a store-bought graham cracker crust, but you’d be doing this pie an injustice. You’d also want to up the number of pecans in the middle so the flavor wouldn’t completely disappear. As always, toasting the pecans beforehand makes a significant difference flavor-wise, so don’t skip that step either.
When making it, you do need to chill it for it to set, and I recommend bringing it back to room temperature before serving. This is a good recipe to do in between doing other things in the kitchen, as you need to allow some time for layers to cool a bit.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart/Pie (from Kraft recipes of all places)
- 3 cups chopped Pecans, divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 pkg. (11 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
- 2/3 cup whipping cream, divided
- 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Heat the oven to 350°F
Pour the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast for 6-9 minutes (exact timing is a matter of oven and taste). Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, toss once or twice. Get ’em nice and toasted.
Use pulsing action to blend 2 cups nuts in blender until finely ground. (You don’t want to over-blend them as they’ll turn into pecan butter). Pour into medium-sized bowl and add granulated sugar and butter. Mix to combine, then press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate.
Bake the crust 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (If crust puffs up during baking, gently press down with back of spoon.) Cool completely.
Microwave caramels and 1/3 cup whipping cream in microwaveable bowl on HIGH in 1 minute increments, stirring after each minute, for 2 1/2-3 minutes until caramels are completely melted and mixture is well blended. (Both times I made this, it took exactly 2 1/2 mins). Pour caramel layer into crust. Chop remaining nuts and sprinkle them over the caramel layer. Allow this to cool/set for 10-15 mins. You could even stick it in the fridge while you make the chocolate layer.
Add cream, sugar, and vanilla to small saucepan and heat on medium/low until just simmering/hot (you don’t want a full on boil or the cream will scald). Add the chocolate and stir until well blended.
Pour/plop the chocolate ganache on top of the caramel/pecans and spread relatively evenly (this will be easier if the caramel is somewhat firm).
Chill at least 2 hours before serving, and I’d generally recommend taking it out of the fridge an hour or so before you want to serve it.