Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Chocolate chunks has a rich flavor of dark chocolate, sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar. A little bourbon cuts through the sweetness to create a complex flavor to that buttery-sweet filling. Because I prefer a more “cuttable” pie, I have developed this recipe to have an almost praline texture. Despite that, this delicious pie still has that gooey center you expect in classic pecan pie recipes. This easy recipe is a must for your holiday dessert table. Don’t believe me? Just wait until you bite into it.
*I originally published this post in November 2017. I’ve updated the hideous images and the rambling article. I’ve also removed the corn syrup from the original recipe.*
Where Does Maple Pecan Pie Come From?
The part of Texas I’m in (San Antonio) was Comanche land, and many Indigenous tribes incorporated pecans (from the Algonquin word pa’kan, though many of the tribes have different forms of this word) into their diets. However, it was an enslaved man, known only by his first name, Antoine, who successfully grafted the first pecan tree on a plantation in Louisiana.
There are arguments as to whether or not the French created the pecan pie in New Orleans or if it was created in the backwoods of North Carolina. What no one debates, though, is that pecan pies are a very classic dessert. Pecan pies are actually the state pie of Texas, too!
What Are The Ingredients In Maple Pecan Pie?
To make this bourbon chocolate pecan pie, you need large eggs, semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips), unsalted butter (not pictured), pecans, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, a touch of bourbon, kosher salt, cinnamon, and a batch of my mealy pie dough.
Why Doesn’t It Call For Light Corn Syrup?
Maple pecan pie is a sugar pie or a sugar filling made thick with eggs. Often, the preferred sugar is light or dark corn syrup.
Corn syrup prevents the crystallization of the brown sugar in the filling. Corn syrup is an invert sugar that keeps the filling from becoming grainy. I found that I was okay with the texture of my pecan pie filling after using maple syrup). Maple syrup is a natural product with a much better flavor than corn syrup.
Other than that, there’s no real reason why I don’t use corn syrup in my pecan pies. I prefer the taste of maple syrup in this recipe. You can replace the maple syrup in this recipe with dark corn syrup. It will have a more robust flavor and thinner texture, but it will work fine.
What Pecans Do I Need For This Recipe?
Pecan halves are the best type for this pecan pie recipe. You can use whole pecans or pecan pieces, but you’ll either have to chop them longer with the former or be unable to decorate the top with the latter. If you have no interest in decorating the top of your maple pecan pie, then, by all means, grab the pecan pieces.
With the pecan halves, you will chop them as part of the prep, so be mindful of those extra five or ten minutes you’ll dedicate to that.
What Bourbon Is Best For This Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie?
Use a bourbon you’d drink from a glass to add to this pecan pie. You never want to add bottom-shelf liquor to your recipes because their flavor will affect the rest of the dish.
Adding bourbon to your pecan pie will not make it taste like alcohol because this recipe doesn’t contain that much bourbon. The addition of dark chocolate also adds another dimension of flavor that balances out the alcohol. Sweet brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans work with the bourbon to make this a not-to-sweet, not-at-all-boozy pie.
All this is to say that you can make this filling sans bourbon. Substitute it with an additional tablespoon of vanilla extract instead.
Are Maple Syrup and Pancake Syrup Interchangeable?
Maple syrup is not the same as pancake syrup. If you want to use pancake syrup, you should use dark corn syrup because it’s the same thing. Maple syrup is the sap of a maple tree. Dark corn syrup is high fructose corn syrup with flavoring and color added.
There are different grades of maple syrup. The sugar goes from light and vanilla-flavored to a deep and dark robust flavor ranging from Fancy to Grade B. My favorite is the Grade A or Grade A Amber- both of which sit right in the middle of maple-y deliciousness.
Choose whichever maple syrup fits your budget, but avoid using pancake syrup in pecan pie recipes.
What Kind Of Crust Do I Need For This Pie?
A Mealy Pie Dough is the best type of crust for any custardy or sugar pie. This pie dough- also called Pâte Brisée– has waterproof characteristics that help it resist becoming soggy as it bakes under the runny pie filling. You will need half of the recipe or one 10-ounce disc of mealy pie dough for this maple pecan pie. You can also use store-bought pie crust or prepared pie crust. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface and line your 10-inch pie dish with it. Flute the edges of the pie crust dough however you like.
Once your pie plate is filled, prick a few holes in the bottom of the pie dough with the tines of your fork, then place it into the fridge to firm up the butter in the dough. The fork holes help vent the dough while the chilling firms the butter in the dough. That way, as the pie bakes, it’s strong enough to hold its shape, resulting in a beautiful flaky crust.
How Do I Blind Bake The Pie Dough?
Blind baking the mealy pie dough prevents the bottom of the pie shell from becoming soggy as the pecan pie bakes.
Remove the refrigerated pie crust from the fridge and place a parchment or foil liner inside it. Just cut out a circle 2 inches larger than your pie pan. Set the liner inside the pie shell and pour ceramic pie weights or dried beans into the liner.
Bake the pie in a 425°F (218°C) oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pie shell from the oven and carefully lift out the liner with the weights. The top of the dough will be opaque since it’s been covered.
Return the pie shell to the oven for another 10 minutes to bake the bottom of the crust until it looks flaky and slightly blistered. If there are really large bubbles, try to press them down with your fingertips or the back of a spoon.
Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C).
How Do I Make The Maple Pecan Pie Filling?
Add the room-temperature butter, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt to a large bowl. Use an electric hand mixer set at high speed to beat the ingredients for 3 minutes. The mixture will look thick and light brown, like chocolate mousse.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, mixing each at medium-high speed until fully incorporated before adding the next egg. This will create a thick, foamy mixture. Scrape down the bowl once again.
Add the maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Blend these in at low speed until the mixture looks opaque and is thick like pudding.
Lastly, use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped pecans and the chunks of chocolate. Once all the ingredients in the bowl are combined, pour the pecan pie filling into your blind-baked pie shell.
Can I Freeze The Pecan Pie Before Baking It?
Decorate the top of your pie with a 1/2 cup of pecan halves. Or don’t. That’s a personal preference because it’s a flex when I set it on the Thanksgiving table, but you can be humble and skip this. I just decorate it by making concentric circles of pecan halves. I leave the middle exposed so people know to expect those chunks of chocolate.
You can freeze your chocolate bourbon pecan pie before you bake it.
Put the unbaked, decorated pie on a baking sheet and put the pan in the freezer. Freeze the pie overnight so the filling sets up as much as possible. Cover the frozen pie in two layers of plastic film and a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the pie for up to two months.
Thaw the frozen pie in the fridge overnight and bake it as follows.
How Long Does It Take To Bake A Pie?
Place the pie tin into the preheated oven. Bake the pecan pie for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the center jiggles slightly when you shake the pan. The surface will also develop little fissures.
You can lightly lay a piece of aluminum foil over the pie if the crust is too dark. Don’t press down or try to seal it. You just need to lightly cover it.
Can I Cut It Right Away?
Allow the maple pecan pie to chill for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving. It also tastes great when you cool it completely and serve it at room temperature.
Why Causes Maple Pecan Pie To Be Runny?
Maple pecan pies can remain runny after baking if your oven isn’t properly calibrated or because it was underbaked. Continue baking the pie for another 10-15 minutes, and it should set properly.
The pecan pie filling is gooey while it’s super hot. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes to give it time to set. If the pecan pie has tiny cracks and no longer jiggles and is still runny when you cut into it, it’s most likely because it wasn’t allowed to cool long enough.
Is Maple Pecan Pie Served Hot Or Cold?
Maple pecan pie is best when served warm or at room temperature. Most of us make pecan pies for desserts far ahead of when we serve them, so they’re most commonly served at room temperature.
Serve your maple pecan pie after letting it cool for 30 minutes. You can serve it as is, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, or with one of these frozen custards:
This pecan pie tastes amazing with a hard sauce, like the Coquito Toffee Sauce from this recipe.
How Do I Store Leftover Pie?
Since this maple pecan pie is a custard pie, it should stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving it to allow it to warm to room temperature.
For safety’s sake, keep this pie in the fridge, wrapped in plastic or otherwise covered, to keep it from going stale.
Can I Freeze Maple Pecan Pie After Baking It?
To freeze maple pecan pie, cool it to room temperature. Freeze it until solid unwrapped, then cover it in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
You can freeze a baked pecan pie for up to two months. Just thaw it in the fridge overnight and allow it to warm up slightly on the countertop before slicing and serving.
This is one of my family’s favorite pies because it tastes like an authentic Southern bourbon pecan pie recipe with the added bonus of chocolate chunks. If you’re looking for the best pecan pie recipe to serve this holiday season, you’ve found it. Don’t forget to save this recipe to your dessert board and share it with your friends and family.
Maple Pecan Pie with Bourbon and Chocolate Chunksat Sense & Edibility
- 10-inch pie plate (9 1/2-inch is also fine)
- ceramic pie weights or dried beans
- electric hand mixer
- 1/2 portion Mealy Pie Dough (or 8-ounce pie dough)
- 3/4 cup, packed (192 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (245 grams) chopped pecans plus more to decorate
- 3/4 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C).
Blind Bake the Mealy Pie Dough
- Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle and line your 10-inch pie tin with it. Flute the edges however you like. Once your tin is filled, prick a few holes in the bottom of the pie dough with the tines of your fork, then place it into the fridge to firm up the butter in the dough.
- After chilling the dough, cut a piece of parchment paper or foil out into a circle that's 2-inches larger than the pie plate. Set the liner inside of the pie shell and pour ceramic pie weights or dried beans into the liner.
- Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pie shell from the oven and carefully lift out the liner with the weights in it. The top of the dough will be opaque since it's been covered.Return the pie shell to the oven for another 10 minutes to bake the top until it looks flaky and slightly blistered. If there are really large bubbles, try to press them down with your fingertips or the back of a spoon.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C).
Mix, then Bake the Maple Pecan Pie
- Add the brown sugar, butter, salt, and ground cinnamon to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use an electric hand mixer, on high speed, to beat these ingredients together for 3 minutes. Stopping the mixer to scrape down the bowl twice during mixing. The mixture to look thick and light brown, almost like a chocolate mousse.
- After 3 minutes, stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, mixing each one in at medium-high speed until fully incorporated before adding the next egg. This will create a thick, foamy mixture. Scrape down the bowl once again.
- Add the maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Blend these in at low speed until the mixture looks opaque and is thick like pudding.
- Lastly, use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped pecans and the chunks of chocolate. Once all of the ingredients in the bowl are combined, pour the pecan pie filling into your blind-baked pie shell. Decorate the top of your pie with a 1/2 cup of pecan halves.
- Once the shell is filled, slide the pie into the preheated oven. Bake the pecan pie for 35-40 minutes.
Remove the Maple Pecan Pie and Cool
- The pie is done when it no longer jiggles in the center, and the surface develops little cracks. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before serving.You can also allow it to cool completely and serve it at room temperature for up to two hours.
Swaps and Substitutions:
- Replace the pecans with walnuts to make a maple walnut pie
- Replace the maple syrup with dark corn syrup. It will no longer be a maple pecan pie.
- Omit the bourbon and increase the amount of vanilla extract to 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters).
Tips and Techniques:
- The fork holes help vent the dough while the chilling firms the butter in the dough. That way, as the pie bakes, it's strong enough to hold its shape, resulting in a flaky, beautiful crust.
- Because store bought pie doughs are usually rolled thinner than homemade, decrease the blind baking time to 10 minutes. Five minutes per stage.
- I recommend Basil Hayden's, Uncle Nearest, or Knob Creek bourbon for this recipe.
- If the pie is runny after baking, and you followed the recipe exactly, your oven temp might be off. Just bake it for another 10-15 minutes, and it should set properly. If the pecan pie has the tiny cracks and no longer jiggles, and is still runny when you cut into it, it's most likely because it wasn't allowed to cool long enough. The pecan pie filling is gooey while it's super hot. Allow it to cool the full 30 minutes to give it time to set.
- If you find the crust is growing too dark for your liking, you can lay a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the top of the pie. Don't press down or try to seal it.
- Serve the Maple Pecan Pie on its own, a la mode (topped with a scoop of ice cream or frozen custard), or with a hard sauce, like the Coquito Toffee Sauce from this recipe.
- Store this pie in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
- Bring to room temperature for 2 hours or heat it slightly in the microwave to enjoy warm.
- To freeze unbaked Maple Pecan Pie:
- Set the unbaked, decorated pie on a sheetpan and put the pan in the freezer.
- Freeze the pie overnight, so the filling sets up as much as possible.
- Once the pie is frozen, cover it in two layers of plastic film and a layer of aluminum foil.
- Freeze the pie for up to two months.
- Thaw the frozen pie overnight in the fridge and bake as instructed in the recipe above.
- To freeze the Maple Pecan Pie after baking:
- Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Freeze the pie until solid, unwrapped, then cover it in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and one layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Freeze the pecan pie for up to two months.
- Thaw the frozen pie in the fridge overnight, and allow it to warm up slightly on the countertop before slicing and serving.