Dave's Big Chile Bourbon Espresso Chocolate Pecan Pie
(Emeril's Recipe Combined With Stephanie Zonis's Recipe Combined With Chiles)
Makes 1 pie
When completed the pie should have three mingling layers: a thin chocolate ganache on top, a cocoa-pecan top layer, and a bottom layer of espresso "custard." If you want, you can add ground chiles to the ganache and bourbon to the main pie. This will provide smoky undertones throughout that will go well with the espresso, chocolate, and pecans. It will also cut down the sugar. Make sure to use chiles like  ancho, pasilla, mulato, and/or chipotle, not common chili powder. These chiles should be a dark tan, a dark reddish brown, or almost black. Traditional chili powder will create something of an off taste, adding more heat than flavor, while these chiles have a sweet and/or smokey sensation. If you are unfamiliar with them I recommend experimenting with each separately, until you learn their flavors. Then you'll have a good idea which you prefer and about how much. In my first version the chiles tasted quite mild in the ganache, but faded when I spread the ganache on the pie. Amounts similar to 3/4 teaspoon ancho or mulato and 1/4 teaspoon chipotle have been recommended to me and I'll try that next. Here is a brief description of all  kinds of chiles.
Also make sure to use good quality bourbon such as Knob Creek. The alcohol will burn off in preparation, leaving just the flavor, and you'd be surprised how much you need to really get the flavor of the bourbon. Ghirardelli double chocolate chips are a good choice for a very chocolately ganache. Finally, please use Dutch process cocoa powder for the pie, as it will give you a dark, rich look for the top layer that regular unsweetened cocoa powder cannot provide.

*I've run into a problem. There is a big difference in consistency and hardness between the ganche and the other two layers of the pie. You need a thick knife to saw through the ganache, which butchers the softer pecan cocoa middle and the espresso cocoa custard bottom. So I reduced the chocolate chips in the ganache from 1/2 cup to 3/8 cup, an equal amount to the cream, and added one tablespoon bourbon. That should make it less stiff. I doubt that this is an optimal solution, so I'll keep experimenting.*

Ingredients   (Version For Printing)

- Prepared 9" Deep Dish crust, from scratch or store bought

- 3/8 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/8 cup chocolate chips
- 1/8 to 4 teaspoon dried ground chiles, to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon good quality bourbon whiskey
- 1 3/4 cups pecan halves
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
- 6 more tablespoons (or more) good quality bourbon whiskey (optional)


1) Take the butter out of the refrigerator so it has a chance to soften for later. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until scalded, and pour over the chocolate chips and ground chiles pepper (optional) that are in a small, heat-proof mixing bowl. Stir until the chocolate has melted and a smooth sauce has formed. Add the bourbon and mix again. Set aside; this will be the ganache for the pie. Don't put it in the refrigerator so it won't cool too much and harden.
If you're worried about adding too much chile powder, you can add it after the chocolate and heavy cream have turned into a sauce. Then add a little bit at a time until you get to the flavor you like. Wait about 30 seconds after tasting before adding more, the chile flavor has a tendency to grow slowly. It should be just a little hotter than you'd like.
2) Remove the pie crust  from the refrigerator, and spread the pecan pieces evenly on the bottom. If the pecan pieces are large break them up until they are smaller.
3) Beat the eggs in a small bowl to combine. Add the espresso powder and beat to mix. Let stand ten minutes, beating occasionally to dissolve the espresso power.
4) Preheat the oven to 400. By hand, in a medium bowl, cream the brown sugar, vanilla, and softened butter until it's light and fluffy. Beat in the sifted cocoa, and salt. Mix well. Add the espresso-egg mixture one-third at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup.
5) Pour mixture slowly over pecans in pie shell. If any pecans do not get completely covered by the mixture, submerge them until they do. Let stand 2 or 3 minutes; with toothpick or tip of sharp knife, pierce any air bubbles (during this standing period, pecans may rise to top of pie--OK)
6) Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Bake for another 32-37 minutes, until the filling sets and the pastry has nicely browned. Pie is done when edges are cracked and risen but center still quivers slightly when pie is shaken gently. Do not overbake. If pie begins to brown excessively, cover top lightly with foil.
7) (optional) Immediately after removing the pie from the oven poke holes into the pie filling with a toothpick or sharp thin knife, trying not to poke through to the bottom custard layer. This is to give the bourbon a route to travel. Then drizzle the bourbon over-top the pie. It should start to sizzle, like splashing water on a hot griddle. That's a good sign. It means the heat from the pie is cooking off the alcohol, but leaving the bourbon flavor.
8) Let the pie cool off for a few minutes, then poke a few larger holes in the pie, which will give the ganache a few routes to travel also. Pour/ spread the ganache over top the pie. Let the finished pie set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then slice, and serve the pie with the vanilla bean ice cream. The pie may also be served warmed briefly in a microwave.

Emeril's Original Recipe

Stephanie Zonis Original Recipe

An Engineer's Practical Approach To A Chocolate Pecan Pie