20 August 2008

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Although her family was from Michigan, my paternal grandmother, Anna Mae, spent much of her childhood in Mississippi with her mother while her father worked for Henry Ford in Detroit. When she was in her late teens, the family decided to return to Michigan. Along the way, they stopped to see some old friends in Tennessee--my grandfather's family. According to family lore, my grandfather, Forest, was immediately smitten with my grandmother. But there was a problem: she went with her family to Michigan, and he remained enrolled in college in Tennessee, even though his parents also moved to the same town in Michigan where Anna Mae now lived. Well, in the middle of the semester Forest couldn't stand it anymore, and he decided to drop out of school and ride his bicycle to Michigan to see Anna Mae. Of course, this was around 1940, so friendly people gave him lifts along the way until he reached eastern Indiana, where he stopped to see some of his mother's relatives. When they heard about his quest, they also offered to drive him part of the way. He got in their vehicle, and after a couple hours, he thanked him and told him they'd taken him far enough. But they kept insisting on driving him a little farther, until eventually they drove him all the way to the small town in the middle of Michigan where Anna Mae and his parents lived. Of course, his parents were furious that he had dropped out of college, but Forest and Anna Mae eloped, and they were happily married for 67 years, until my grandfather’s death last month at the age of 87.

Since Anna Mae spent so many years in Mississippi, she made a wonderful Southern pecan pie, and she passed that recipe on to my mother when my parents got married. However, although I enjoyed that pecan pie, I always found it a little too sweet. So now I make this Chocolate-Pecan Pie that is currently my favorite pie recipe. It's super easy and amazingly delicious. Even people who don't like pecan pie find themselves loving this pie. In fact, I'll never make traditional pecan pie again . . . that's how much better this is. Since today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, whip up one today and try it for yourself.

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

½ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup dark corn syrup
2 eggs
1½ cups pecan halves
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ recipe PERFECT OIL PASTRY

1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Stir together butter, sugar, flour, corn syrup, and eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into crust.
2. Cover crust with foil. Bake until just set in center and crust is golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 396 calories, 26 g total fat, 49 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 20 g sugars, 3 g protein.

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