En garde, Chocolate Decadence. Your position as the gold standard of rich desserts is in danger. The usurper is Guest Food Editor Nancy Markle’s Pecan Delight Pie, a magical mélange of almost everyone’s favorite flavors: chocolate and pecans in an Oreo cookie crust topped with ice cream and (you knew this was coming, right?) mocha sauce.
Although it does not belong on anyone’s healthy heart or weight-management diet, the recipe has a lot going for it. It calls for a store-bought crust. It is not difficult or time-consuming to prepare. It can be made in advance. And, best of all, it makes a grand finale that your guests will love.
Markle’s favorite dessert used to be peanut butter pie, but she developed an allergy to an ingredient and needed a replacement. This creation started out as Derby Pie.
“Heaven only knows where that recipe came from,” she says.
She discovered it in 1998, when she moved here from California, and has been refining it ever since — most recently by creating her own mocha sauce when she couldn’t find the one she had been buying.
This time of year, Markle likes to serve a light dinner of cool or room-temperature foods. She would serve her pie, for example, after a casual supper of turkey meatloaf and lots of salads or veggies.
“I am a dessert person,” she says, “and this is the ultimate comfort dessert. People love it, but it is extremely rich — all pecans and chocolate with no corn syrup and just enough eggs to hold it together.”
She has found that the usual one-sixth piece of pie is too much, and she cuts this one, instead, into tenths or even smaller.
Markle, a retired chief information officer of major corporations, has always loved to entertain.
“I remember friends and family sitting around the table eating when I came home from a date,” she says. “And for huge Passover dinners, my mom invited non-Jews to share the experience.”
These days, she cooks when she visits her children in Atlanta. They throw a party for their friends and hers.
“It has become a tradition,” Markle says. “And it’s a great way for me to meet their friends.”
A former board member of Designing Women Boutique, Markle published this recipe in its “Where Food Meets Fashion” cookbook, available at the shop on North Tamiami Trail, along with dozens of others from fashionable Sarasotans.
Nancy Markle’s Pecan Delight Pie
Servings: 10 or more
1 9-inch prepared cookie pie crust
1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, melted
1 teaspoon genuine vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
3 cups pecans
6 ounces Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix well eggs, sugar, melted butter and vanilla in large bowl. Add flour and mix well. Add pecans and chocolate chips and mix in. Pour into prepared crust and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Nancy’s Mocha Sauce
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coffee or chocolate liqueur
Put brewed coffee and chocolate in a heavy saucepan. On low-medium heat, melt chocolate until all is mixed, stirring often. Add sugar and bring to a boil. Stir well and remove from heat and let cool. Add vanilla and liqueur. Mix well and store in a tightly covered jar in refrigerator. You can heat in microwave to serve hot. It will pour easier.
• Use an Oreo cookie crust, if you want, a chocolate crust or shortbread cookie-crumb crust if you want a white one. They are found with the baking products in the grocery store.
• For those who don’t like chocolate (if there are such people), eliminate chocolate chips and add another cup of pecans, using a shortbread cookie crust.
• Use raw pecan pieces if you can find them.
• Melt the butter in the microwave.
• Häagen-Dazs Java Chip ice cream is excellent with this, or Vanilla Bean is less rich.
• Serve in a stemmed champagne coupe for added glamour.
• Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for four to five days.
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