Here's the Dish

Great German Chocolate Pecan Pie with Goofproof Homemade Crust

By Charlotte on November 18, 2012 6:05 AM

Bob is a true Thanksgiving baby. Besides being born on that very day in 1955, he was the answer to many prayers from his parents, Jo and John, and, of course, the future me.

Jo and John with Bob age 2 months.jpg 

John, Jo and their pride-and-joy, two-month-old Bobby, who later became simply Bob.


Convinced they couldn't have children, Jo and John were in the process of adopting when a miracle happened: Jo became pregnant with Bob. Afterwards, Thanksgiving turned into a double celebration around their house. And it was never complete without Bob's favorite, birthday candle-covered Chocolate Cream Pie.

That's why I usually don't change the dessert for our holiday table. I can count on my hubby wanting his old standby accompanied by a sprinkling of crunchy pecans.

But this year, I decided to shake things up with this tempting, new German Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe from Southern Living's Home Cooking Basics (Oxmoor House, Sept. 18, 2012, $29.95). Featuring creamy chocolate, crunchy pecans, a touch of coconut and a homemade crust, it had Bob's name all over it.  

German Chocolate Pecan Pie from Southern Living's Home Cooking Basics

Slice of Pie-600.jpgWhen was the last time I made a crust from scratch? It's been so long I can't tell you. But this one called for only four ingredients (flour, salt, shortening and ice water) and sounded super simple. Even better, if you have a stand mixer, it's practically goofproof. 

You just put flour and salt in the mixer bowl and use the pastry attachment to cut in the shortening (Crisco butter-flavor worked great). When the mixture gets crumbly, remove the bowl from the base, stir in ice water (one tablespoon at a time), and form a ball of dough per the directions below. That takes about 10 minutes. Since this dough can be chilled until ready to use, you can make it the day before cooking the pie.

Completing this delicious dessert is a no brainer, but be sure to start early if you plan to serve it the same day. Allow 30 minutes to cook the filling, 45 minutes to bake the pie and at least 4 hours to chill it ... about 5 and a half hours overall to be safe. Start by letting the crust come to room temperature, rolling it out and putting it in your pan. I used a glass pie plate sprayed with Pam as insurance against sticking.  


For the filling, you need four ounces sweet baking chocolate (not semi-sweet) so I used 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips. Also, set out butter, evaporated milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, eggs, vanilla, flaked coconut and chopped pecans. Forget your mixer; completing this delightful creation is an easy, two-whisk job. 


You need 10 ingredients to make the filling for Southern Living's German Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Chocolate Pie Ingredients - 600.jpg

Put the chocolate and butter in a saucepan and whisk over low heat until the chocolate melts. Then turn off the heat, stir in the evaporated milk and set the pan off the burner.


Begin by melting chocolate and butter in a saucepan; then whisk in evaportated milk. 

Mixing and Stirring-600.jpgNext, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a large bowl. Once they're combined, blend in the eggs and vanilla followed by the chocolate mixture. Pour that into the unbaked pie shell, sprinkle with coconut and chopped pecans, and bake. 


Blend the next five ingredients (up to the coconut) in a large bowl and whisk in the chocolate mixture. 

Pouring in Chocolate - 600.jpgHere's where things can get a little tricky. After baking 45 minutes, my filling was supposed to be done but did not look at all firm. Although the recipe says that's natural, I almost panicked. I couldn't ruin Bob's birthday treat!


Trying to stay calm, I left the pie in the oven another five minutes just to be sure it was done. The filling still wasn't set but baking it any longer could have singed the coconut so I put my trust in the experts, pulled it from the oven and hoped for the best.


Luckily, there was no reason to worry. After coming to room temperature and chilling overnight in the fridge, that pastry looked perfect and tasted even better. Sharing a slice crowned with a dollop of Cool Whip, we sneaked a preview of what will be one of the main attractions of our Thanksgiving menu.


I'm talkin' wonderfully flaky, homemade bottom crust filled with creamy, sweet chocolate that's topped off by a crunchy-but-chewy mixture of pecans and coconut. What a great way to get the party started! 


German Chocolate Pie


Makes 8 servings; Hands-on Time: 33 minutes; Total Time: 5 hours, 18 minutes


  • Slice of Pie-250.jpgBasic pastry for a 10-inch pie
  • 1 (4-ounce) package sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate shavings (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare pastry; place in a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Set aside.


Combine baking chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring until chocolate melts. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in evaporated milk; set aside.


Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl; add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Gradually stir in chocolate mixture, using a wire whisk. Pour mixture into unbaked pastry shell, and sprinkle with coconut and chopped pecans.


Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. (Pie may appear soft but will become firm after cooling.) Cool at least 4 hours. Top cooled pie with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.



Basic Pastry for a 10-inch Pie


Makes 1 pastry; Hands-on Time: 12 minutes; Total Time: 12 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, evenly over surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape into a disc; cover and chill until ready to use.


Roll pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in pie plate; trim off excess pastry along edges. Fold edges under, and crimp. Chill. Proceed as directed.




Recipe from the Southern Living Home Cooking Basics*


SLHCB 250.jpgAuthor: The editors of Southern Living


Publisher: Oxmoor House


Penned: Sept. 18, 2012


What's Inside: Traditional cooking how-tos ranging from tips for stocking your pantry to setting the table, slicing a mango and serving up sensational fried foods (think Mama's Fried Chicken or Classic Fried Catfish), and more. 


Besides stepping you through key techniques, this cooking bible includes more than 375 Southern Living test kitchen-approved recipes for appetizers (like Blue Cheese Ranch Dip), main dishes (such as Pan-Fried Chicken-and-Ham Parmesan), desserts (Luscious Lemon Bars, please) and everything in-between. Plus, it's packed with handy advice for speeding up the cooking process (try using a greased ice cream scoop to drop cookie dough), substituting ingredients so no one tastes the difference and fixing common kitchen mistakes so dishes always turn out perfectly.


Time Out: 416 pages


Available: $29.95/Hardcover at Amazon and most book retailers


* Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


      Hardcover               Kindle



Want another delicious dessert idea? Try:

Addictive Apricot Pie

Busy-Day Blackberry Cobbler

Celebration-Worthy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Chewy Cherry Squares

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Fall-Perfect Pumpkin Spice Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Mother's Perfect Pecan Pie

My Ginger Cookies

No-Bake Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

Robert's Brownies My Way

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0

Zebra Brownie Squares


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When Charlotte and I aren't hip-deep in period dramas (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge) we love a good crime story. Film Noir is my favorite genre (anybody up for Maltese Falcon, Diabolique or Elevator to the Gallows?) so we're always on the lookout for a new movie or series to scratch that itch.

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