I had a slice of chocolate pecan pie in Dublin in May 2011 that I thought about for years afterwards. After making several versions, I have decided that I actually prefer pecan pie without the chocolate; the cocoa powder in the filling slightly obscures the maple flavour. I am however quite keen on a mix and match approach – choolate ganache to top a maple flavoured filling could be the way forward.
This pie should be made with maple syrup but I’m quite stingy so I’ve made it with maple-flavoured golden syrup. You could of course use regular golden syrup too if that’s what you have in the cupboard. It won’t have the same maple flavour but it might be a better option if you want to add chocolate. If you prefer to use natural sugars, you can use maple syrup and replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar.
This recipe is heavily inspired by one from the Loving It Vegan Blog. I’ve suggested using coconut cream & corn starch as an egg replacer, or Orgran egg replacer. (The versions I trialled using aquafaba did not go terribly well, I am sad to report, but I would love to hear from you if you have had good results with it in a pecan pie.) For the first option, use two teaspoons of corn starch, whisked with 2 tablespoons of coconut cream, from the top of a tin of coconut milk and bake the filled tart for twenty minutes. Orgran is available from most health food shops including Holland & Barratt and some supermarkets. Just follow the instructions on the packet for two ‘eggs’ worth but the the filling will need to be baked for slightly longer – thirty minutes rather than twenty.
You can use whole pecan nuts but I prefer to use chopped pecans. You can add some whole pecans to the top of the pie once you’ve poured the filling into the tart case. The nuts tend to drift around in the syrupy filling so putting a layer of (or a few) pecans on top of the filling is an easier way to ensure a neater finish. This of course would not be necessary if you would like to top the pie with chocolate ganache.
I used my small tart tin which is 20cm in diameter and 1/2 an inch deep but for a larger, deeper tart, you can increase the quantities by two or three, depending on the size of your tin.
55g butter or vegan margarine
75g light brown sugar or coconut sugar
60ml/4 tablespoons of golden syrup or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
two teaspoons of corn starch and two tablespoons of coconut cream from the top of a tin of coconut milk OR two ‘eggs’ worth of Orgran egg replacer
two – three handfuls of pecan nuts, plus any extra for decoration
- Make a pastry case using 100g plain flour, 50g butter and 2 dessertspoons of cold water. See here for full instructions. Blind bake it, lined with baking paper and filled with baking beans, for thirty minutes.
- Weigh out the brown sugar, butter and syrup into a small saucepan. Over a low heat, stir until it melts and remove from the heat and add the vanilla essence. Add a heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder, if you would like a chocolate-y filling and stir/whisk to make sure any lumps of cocoa are mixed in.
- Whisk the coconut milk and corn starch in a small bowl OR whisk up the egg replacer as per the instructions on the packet. Pour into the mixture in the saucepan, then add the pecan nuts.
- Pour the mixture into the pie crust and if you would like to, add some extra pecans, as per the note above the recipe on creating a neater finish. Bake at 180C for twenty minutes if using coconut cream in the filling and thirty if you’ve used Orgran. Allow to cool for an hour before putting into the fridge to set for two hours. Once it is set, you can also pour over a layer of chocolate ganache and put it back in the fridge to set the top layer.