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Culinary Canvas: Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

November 26, 2013

In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, DMA staff came together yesterday to celebrate with a potluck and pie competition–which of course, yours truly had to enter. And wouldn’t you know, we have the perfect print to match: Thanksgiving. Is this what your kitchen will look like come Thursday? While it was only me in the kitchen baking pie this weekend, it sure felt this chaotic! Although I can’t say my pie was an official DMA winner, the presentation certainly did have that wow factor. And the rich chocolate flavor is bound to knock your socks off. Happy Thanksgiving!

Doris Lee, Thanksgiving, 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection

Doris Lee, Thanksgiving, 1942,Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

Yields a 9 inch pie
Level: Moderate


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 ½ tablespoons shortening
Scant ¼ cup cold water

Stir together salt and flour. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture forms into small crumbs. Sprinkle in just enough water to bring dough together into a ball. Flatten ball into a disk and chill in refrigerator until ready to roll out. Dough can also be made ahead and frozen until ready to use, thawing beforehand in the refrigerator.


1 ½ cups sugar
cup flour
cup unsweetened cocoa
¾ cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spread pecans evenly onto sheet and toast in oven about 5-6 minutes, until nuts turn slightly darker and become fragrant. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Chop one cup and set aside the remaining halves.

Lightly flour a tea towel spread across a baking sheet. Roll out crust on floured surface to about 2 inches beyond the circumference of the pie dish. Place pie dish upside down on top of crust and, using the baking sheet as support, gently flip crust over on top of dish. Situate crust into dish, gently pressing any cracks back together.

In medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and cocoa. Mix in melted butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add eggs one at time, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in chopped pecans with rubber spatula. Pour filling into prepared pie dish.

Bake pie about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to metal rack to cool completely. Filling will look rather loose but will set as it cools.


1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½  teaspoon sea salt
2 cups toasted pecan halves

In medium heavy bottom saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for about 8 minutes, swirling pan occasionally until sugar begins to change to a dark amber color. Watch very closely to ensure sugar does not burn. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in cream and butter. Stir constantly until bubbling stops and butter is fully incorporated. Whisk in sea salt. Set aside to cool slightly.

Once pie has cooled, arrange remaining pecan halves on top, beginning with the outer rim and working inward. Pour warm caramel topping over pecans, covering entire pie in an even layer. Lightly sprinkle with fancy sea salt flakes if desired.


Crust recipe courtesy my mom. Pie recipe adapted from Southern Living.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

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