This rich, dense pie combines chocolate, pecans and cheesecake to wonderful effect.
Makes about 8 servings
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate cookie crunch, or any crushed chocolate cookies
1/4 cup pecan meal or finely ground pecans
1/2 cup butter or vegetable shortening
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk (save the white)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs plus 1 egg white
Crust: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, chocolate crunch and pecan meal. Using your fingers, a pastry fork, pastry blender or mixer, work in the butter or vegetable shortening. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of cold water while tossing with a fork; add additional water if the dough isn't cohesive. Flatten the dough into a disk, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so.
On a well-floured surface, roll the crust into a 12-inch circle, then fit it into a 9-inch pie pan that's at least 1 inch deep. Crimp the outside edge, and prick the bottom with a fork. Line the crust with a nesting pie pan, or the weights of your choice, and "blind-bake" it (bake it without filling) in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven, allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then remove the weights and sprinkle the chips over the bottom of the pie shell. Spread the chocolate into an even layer once it's melted. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is set.
Cheesecake Layer: Mix all of the cheesecake ingredients together gently just till blended. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the chilled crust. Bake the pie in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes, covering the edge with a pie crust shield to prevent burning. The cheesecake will still be slightly soft.
Pecan Layer: Sprinkle the pecans over the cheesecake layer. Whisk together the sugar, syrup, vanilla, eggs, and egg white, and gently pour the mixture over the pecans. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired. Return the pie to the oven, and bake it for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until it's puffed. Keep the crust shield on to protect the edge of the crust. Remove it from the oven; the filling will fall (which is Okay). Refrigerate the pie for several hours before serving, and keep any leftovers refrigerated.