Saturday 28 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Pecan Pie: Baby Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies

I don't believe in guilty pleasures, I believe you should be able to like what you like ~ Dave Grohl

Bookshops are selling out of it.  Comedians are lampooning it.  It even made it on to our national news.

Everyone seems to be talking about Fifty Shades of Grey.

I'm a wee bit hesitant to wade into the Fifty Shades frenzy but it's such a cultural phenomenon that it's pretty hard to ignore.  AND I'm dying to know what you lovely readers think...

Now I'm no book snob, I mean, what's not to love about fun trashy quick reads, right ladies?  I'll happily own up to being one of the legions of Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse, and Jamie Fraser fans but with Fifty not so likey.  I don't even know if I enjoyed reading the books.  Not because I was put off by the smexy factor (although some of it was cringe) but it was more that books just weren't that great a read.  They weren't terribly romantic at all: Christian was a bully, Ana, a push-over, there wasn't a heck of a lot of plot, and the whole thing just dragged ooooooon.    Anyhoo, have you dipped into the Fifty Shades books? What did you think? Am I being too harsh?

On a semi related note, this recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Tarts is so adaptable, I like to think of it as Fifty Shades of Pecan Pie:  dark, sinful, and easy to whip up.

And kinda like how Fifty Shades was based on Twilight, this is actually an adaptation of Jo Seagar's fabulous Baby Pecan Pies.  It's a terrific recipe, reliable and delicious, and you can change it up with different nuts and dried fruit (like in these walnut and apricot caramel tarts), or make them into bigger muffin sized tarts, or even a full sized pie.  So definitely have fun with flavour combinations and don't get tied down by conventional pairings.

In this reincarnation, I've added cocoa to the pastry, dark chocolate to the filling and a good slug of Jim Beam to make them extra decadent.

I love this pastry: it's buttery and flakey and just melts in your mouth.  It's really forgiving and so easy to make in the food processor. Plus you don't even need to blind bake!  The time consuming part though, is pressing out each pastry cup into the mini muffin tins.  Getting the pastry thin enough to be lovely and delicate but making sure you don't have holes for the filling to seep through is a bit of a wrist-aching mission.  So park yourself in front of the TV for that part - a perfect excuse to watch the Olympics methinks!

It looks like a lot of bourbon in the recipe but I loved the flavour it gave the caramel filling; a smokey fruitiness that wasn't too boozy but balanced out the sweetness, but if you're worried about the booze factor, start with a little and add to your taste.

These are amazing while still warm and gooey, and stay good for several days so perfect for an afternoon tea party to say goodbye to good friends (miss you guys already LEB & ATM!!), or for a fundraising bake sales, or for book club perhaps.

Baby Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies

makes 32 mini muffin sized pies (or 17 larger tarts *see below for instructions)

*****EDIT: Recipe Updated 23 January 2013 - just made these again and for some reason this time got waaaaaay too much filling so have have adjusted the quantities***

Chocolate Pastry
250g butter
1 3/4 cups flour (249g)
1/4 cup cocoa (33g)
1 cup icing sugar (132g)

1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to mix until the pastry starts to clump around the blade.

2. Remove the dough from mixer and knead into log shape. Divide the log in half, then each half in to halves and halves again to get 16 even balls of dough per half.  Roll each ball to get a nice sphere.

3. Spray two 24 cup non-stick mini muffin tins with non stick baking spray.  Press each ball of dough into each cup to get a thin layer with a little lip over the top of the cup. Make sure they are pretty thin or  you'll get a bit too much pastry and not enough filling per pie.

4. Chill the pastry cups in fridge for at least 30 mins.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Filling
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (semi sweet)
1/2 cup pecans (~70g) (Hazelnuts work really well too)
60g butter
4 - 5 Tbsp bourbon, depending on your taste (I used Jim Beam and I like them boozy!)
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed (~220g)
1 tsp vanilla
big pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 180oC (or 160oC fan bake).  Count out enough pecan halves to top all the tarts.  Chop the rest of the pecans up. Divide the chocolate chips evenly into chilled pastry cups.  Then divide up the chopped pecan bits on top of the chocolate. 

2. Melt the butter in a pyrex measuring jug then add the egg, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and brown sugar to the melted butter and whisk until it forms a smooth caramel sauce.

3. Pour the caramel sauce slowly into each case (around 1 teaspoon per case), be careful not to overfill the cases or they will over flow! Place a pecan half on top of each cup.

4.  Bake at 180oC for 20-25 mins (or 160oC on fan bake for around 20 minutes) until the filling has set.  Leave the tarts to cool in tins completely before turning out.  To release each tart, twist the tops gently to loosen and put on a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for around 3-4 days.

*For the slightly larger tarts (normal muffin tin sized):

- I ended up needing 2 cups of pecans to fill the pastry cases, with some extra to decorate the tops with.

- Line the muffin tins with a square of baking paper as well as spraying with baking spray to help get the tarts out easier.
- The larger tarts take 35-40 minutes at 180oC and I let them cool till pretty much cold in the tins before turning out.
- I drizzled dark chocolate over the top of the tarts to make them look extra spesh.


  1. I read the first one then needed to read a book inbetween (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which was a bit eerie and strange but a really original story) I'm now half way thru the second book and find myself rolling my eyes and thinking, really ?

    Imagine what Christian would do to me for that ! ha

    1. Ahahahahah LOVE it! I literally hooted with laughter at your comment! Christian would not be happy with either of us me thinks.....:P

  2. looks sooo goood! great photos as always :)The hype's been crazy but I'm steering away from fifty shades ... though I enjoy reading the hilarious reviews of it on Goodreads. BTW I really enjoy your blog so I nominated you for A Lovely Blog award :)

    1. Oh wow that is so incredibly lovely of you! Am so flattered speshly when your blog is super awesome!!!!! :) Thanks so so much Marnelli!

  3. Wow these pies look incredible. Bourbon!? Yum!

    I haven't lept into the Fifty Shades abyss yet but I feel like perhaps it's only a matter of time. With all the stigma and hype surrounding it though, I would definitely be reading it on the down-low. No way would I pull it out of my bag in the lunch room!

    1. It's crazy there's so much hype and stigma all at once huh! We should start constructing pseudo book covers for people so it looks like they're reading something super intellectual like Crime and Punishment when they're actually reading Fifty Shades!!! I'd totally use one :P

  4. I'm on Chapter seven so far and if I hear "Christian runs his hands through his hair" one more time I'm going to throw the book out of the window. It's so repetitive! But I will finish it, I just don't know if I can bear to read the others yet..

    These mini pecan pies look so good! I've bookmarked the recipe to try sometime soon :-)

  5. I have to admit to loving FSOG! It was one of those embarrassing addictions :P Although what does smexy mean? I must look it up! ;)

  6. Why read 50 Shades of whatever when you can read recipes? Food porn does it for me every time!

  7. Oh I want to be part of a book club!

    I've barely heard of this 50 Shades frenzy. Perhaps I need to get up with the news..

    The chocolate pastry sounds awesome. Have never thought to add chocolate to my pecan tarts but that really can't be a stupid idea. These tarts would go down well here around Christmas time, being iconic to Canada and all.

  8. Hi!
    I love your blog, is awesome :) and I have read you live in Wellington, oh!
    I´m a spanish girl but I live in Rotorua since the last year and here I´m starting to cook, and I love it!
    Nice to meet you.
    Sweet kisses



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