Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
I LOVE a good chocolate cake, especially when it is made using good quality chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. But a lot of people do not like the bitterness of dark chocolate, and prefer using milk chocolate when cooking. This recipe for pecan pie is basically a chocolate tart with pecan nuts layered on top. The taste is essentially chocolate with the addition of pecans, but when it is the two are combined, it takes on a wonderful nutty flavour combination. Also the good thing is that you do not need to use a high percentage chocolate, as a milk chocolate works really well in this recipe, and also works well on your pocket!
280g liquid glucose
4 free range eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
200g whole pecans
120g cold unsalted butter
1 tbsp. cold water
Pinch of salt
Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and whizz until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and whizz until it all comes together into a soft ball.
Remove from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Work the dough into a round and flatten into a disk. Wrap in cling film and place it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Roll out the pastry to about a 9” round, and line a loose bottomed pie or flan dish. Cut off any excess pastry and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, add the sugar, salt, vanilla and glucose and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring all the time until smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the eggs and mix well.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and pour the chocolate mixture into the pastry. Decorate the top of the pie with the whole pecans.
Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 1 hour, until risen slightly, yet still wobbly in the centre. Allow to cool for 1 hour before removing from the dish and cooling completely for a further 1 hour or in the fridge.
Serve with vanilla cream and a sprinkling of more chopped pecan nuts.
Pecan Toffee Ice Cream
1 litre vanilla ice cream
100g pecan nuts
60g brown sugar
toffee sauce (shop bought)
This ice cream recipe is really easy as it is just mixing flavours into vanilla ice cream, which you can either make or buy.
Start by placing the nuts and brown sugar into a small sauce pan over a low heat. Stir the nuts as the sugar melts and it will start to turn into a caramel syrup. When the sugar is completely melted, started to bubble and turned a deep brown, remove from the heat.
Pour the nuts out onto a baking sheet, lined with non-stick greaseproof paper, and allow them to cool completely. Crack the caramelised nuts with a rolling pin so that they are in bite size pieces, or else just pulse in a food processor for 3 seconds.
Defrost the ice cream for about 10 minutes until it is soft enough to mix with a wooden spoon. Place the ice cream into a large mixing bowl and stir in the chopped caramelised nuts. Place the ice cream back into the container and return to the freezer for at least 1 hour or until needed.