Wait… what? It’s December already? I’m almost certain my life has been traveling through some sort of time warp, as I know we only took down the Christmas tree two months ago. But that would mean it would have been October, and no one has a Christmas tree up in October… so I presume it really has been one full year since Christmas 2014. Has it? Wow.
Christmas has always been so magical for me. Despite now celebrating Christmas in Australia, during the summer, I still get a toasty warm feeling when I see the tree all lit up near our fireplace. Of course, the warm toasty feeling I get is probably just because it’s 95F degrees outside during Christmas!, but still, it does remind me of snowy Christmases past, stacks of perfectly-wrapped presents, stockings full of candy, family, grandma’s homemade pies…
Grandma made the best pies. Pumpkin pies, oatmeal pies, sugar pies… which does remind me, as well, that I need to whip up her recipe for sugar pie one of these days! The recipe I’m sharing you with today actually brings back memories of grandma’s pies and those magical Christmases from many years ago.
Nespresso recently inspired me with a gorgeous parcel full of goodies based around their limited edition holiday Variations – Ciocco Ginger, Vanilla Amaretti and Vanilla Cardamom. I chose to go with Ciocco Ginger, which is based on the Livanto Grand Cru, but with added dark chocolate and ginger. Utterly irresistible.
With the flavors of Ciocco Ginger in mind, I created this twist on the traditional pecan pie. Let me introduce you to the chocolate ginger espresso pecan tart. A bit of a long title, sure, but this version is sure to shake things up at your annual holiday get-together with family and friends.
This is basically your usual pecan pie recipe, except with dark chocolate, bits of glace ginger and espresso. The crust is simple to prepare and involves no rolling, but feel free to use your own pastry crust recipe. You can bake this recipe in a pie pan and call it a pie, but I don’t have a pie pan so baked it in my rectangular tart pan instead (note that adjustments would need to be made to the below recipe if you’re going to bake this in a similar tart pan).
If you can wait, this tart is best served at room temperature. You can dig in fresh from the oven, but it’ll most likely fall apart on you. Best to wait until it’s completely cool before slicing, and even better if you can wait until the next day. And you have to add a big dollop of whipped cream. You just have to.
But homemade whipped cream, not the store-bought kind.
Impress your family and friends these holidays and bring along this chocolate ginger espresso pecan tart to share (don’t forget the whipped cream). I’m sure it’ll be a new favorite!
What’s your favorite holiday dish? Do you have any traditional recipes you make every year during the holidays?
- For the pie:
- 85g unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 57g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Nespresso Ciocco Ginger capsule, extracted and at room temp*
- 2 cups lightly toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
- A small handful of glace ginger, chopped*
- About ½ cup perfect pecan halves
- Whipped cream, to serve
- For the crust:
- 1½ cups plain flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 57g (4 tablespoons) frozen butter, grated
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, room temp
- 2 tablespoons cold milk
- For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Whisk together.
- Add frozen, grated butter and cream cheese. With your fingers or a pastry blender, work the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture, breaking the butter and cream cheese up until well incorporated into the flour. Some butter bits can be left tiny, others the size of small pebbles.
- Combine the milk and oil; whisk together. Add to the flour and butter mixture. With a fork, combine the ingredients, making sure that all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the liquid. The mixture does not need to come together into a ball. Leave it a bit shaggy and dump the dough into a clean 9-inch pie plate. With your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Try to get the dough as even as possible, but don’t worry too much about finger indentations.
- Place the prepared crust in the freezer to chill while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line the chilled pie crust with baking paper, weigh down with dried beans, rice or pastry weights, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and baking paper and bake for 4-6 minutes uncovered until golden brown.
- For the filling: Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Add espresso to the egg mixture, along with the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk to blend.
- Evenly spread the toasted pecan pieces in the pie shell, and sprinkle the chopped glace ginger on top. To form a decorative border, arrange the pecan halves around the perimeter of the pie shell, on top of the pecan pieces, keeping the points of the pecans facing in and the backs just touching the crust. Carefully pour the filling over the pecans until the shell is three-quarters full. Pour the remaining filling into a liquid measuring cup or small pitcher. Transfer the pie to the oven and pour in the remaining filling (the pecans will rise to the top as the pie bakes).
- Bake the pie (at 180C) until the filling puffs up, just starts to crack, and appears fairly set, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack and allow it to cool completely (at least 4 hours) before serving.
- This pie tastes best if cooled and then refrigerated for several hours or overnight, and be sure to always serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream!
* I actually used about 1½ shots of Nespresso's limited edition Ciocco Ginger, instead of just 1, for a stronger hit of that ginger coffee flavor. If you don't have Ciocco Ginger, either use 3-4 tablespoons of strongly brewed coffee, or 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder that has been dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water.
* I used about 5 pieces of glace ginger; feel free to use a little more or less.