Black Bottom Pecan Pie

September 25, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
Author Notes

For several years, my grandma and I were in charge of baking the pies for Thanksgiving. The first year we attempted this was largely successful, but we had a few outlying critiques. Every family has a few folks who want the exact same things every year—and we had apparently gone crazy by deciding to put chocolate chips in our pecan pie. I remember my grandma telling me she saw the idea of a chocolate pecan pie in a magazine and thought it sounded so good. I loved it, too. Pecan pie always felt candy bar–like with crunchy nuts surrounded by caramel-sweet custard, and chocolate seemed like a natural pairing. The next year, we considered our pecan pie a bit more carefully. We thought seriously about making the pecan pie without the chocolate, but in the end, we decided that we were the pie bakers and we liked the chocolate, so we were keeping it! This has been one of my go-to pies ever since. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
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Black Bottom Pecan Pie
  • 1 par-baked pie crust
  • 1/3 cup (78 grams) finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup (78 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups (319 grams) pecan halves
  • 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (213 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (191 grams) maple syrup
  • 3 large (170 grams) eggs, plus one egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F, preferably with a baking steel or stone on the bottom rack. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the cooled, par-baked crust on it.
  2. Place the chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl. In a small pot, bring 1/3 cup of cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 15 seconds undisturbed, then stir to combine—the ganache should be thick and smooth.
  3. Pour the ganache into the pie crust and spread into an even layer. Let set for 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Place the pecans in an even layer on top of the chocolate. Set aside while you prepare the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, egg yolk, remaining cream, extracts, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. Slowly pour the custard over the pecans.
  5. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and the custard appears set on the outside but slightly jiggly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, covered loosely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Barb Vanorsdale Hartley
    Barb Vanorsdale Hartley
  • Gina Webb
    Gina Webb
  • Meg Gibson Singley
    Meg Gibson Singley
  • Christine Hudson
    Christine Hudson
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

9 Reviews

Christine H. November 11, 2023
I've made this recipe for each Thanksgiving after picking up The Book on Pie in 2020 (fantastic cookbook, by the way) but only just realized that it's published on the Food52 website as well. As with all of Erin's recipes that I've tried, it's a total hit with my family. The dark chocolate layer balances the sweetness of the custard layer, which is made all the better by the inclusion of maple syrup instead of the traditional corn syrup.

Personal preference, but I like to give the pecan halves a very rough chop to make it a bit easier to slice up. I also swap the almond extract for a splash of bourbon. I make a 9" pie crust using Joanne Chang's pate brisee recipe; the flakiness pairs really nicely with this recipe. Good quality chocolate and real maple syrup make a big difference in this recipe and are worth the splurge.

Overall, it's a beautifully balanced pie with additional depth of flavor compared to the tooth-achingly sweet pecan pies I was subjected to growing up. This pie has earned a permanent place on my Thanksgiving table.
Yum1966 November 21, 2022
loved this
Kate November 21, 2022
I've made this a couple of times now. I'm not usually a fan of dark chocolate but I add it if I'm parbaking the crust so I can seal any cracks that happen. Otherwise, I usually omit the dark chocolate bottom and also decrease the brown sugar to 1/2 c
JESSICA S. November 17, 2021
Made this for Thanksgiving 2020 and it was delicious. The filling seemed to be too much for the crust so I baked a few sidecars in ramekins. Super yummy and better than a similar recipe from Four and 20 Blackbirds (although their pie cookbook is amazing and you should read it). Will repeat for 2021.
Barb V. November 27, 2020
Sorry, but this just didn't cut it for us. I was so excited about this recipe - I thought "What could be better? Pecan pie with chocolate!" This was such a disappointment. The chocolate added nothing and actually diminished the actual stars of the show - the pecans. So glad that due to the C19, hubby and I stayed home by ourselves and I didn't take this to a family gathering. Tomorrow (Friday), I will be making a traditional pecan pie.
Brett F. November 24, 2020
Me too. I want to make this tomorrow in time for Thanksgiving but what about the eggs and egg yolk?
Meg G. November 25, 2020
It should read 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk (recipe from her cookbook)
tkoz November 21, 2020
I’m confused that in the directions it calls for eggs, egg yoke but in the ingredients it only calls for 3 eggs. It doesn’t say anything about separating them? Thx! Recipe looks amazing and I will make it. ❤️
Gina W. November 12, 2020
This recipe looks amazing! Love that you use maple instead of corn syrup. Would you please clarify amounts given for heavy cream and eggs? Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!