Playing Make-Ahead Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie by Gail Simmons

This recipe from "Top Chef" host Gail Simmons takes the holiday classic—pecan pie—to the next level. Pecans plus a healthy dose of chocolate, and a hit of flaky sea salt to balance out the sweet richness of the filling is the ultimate combo (We have a feeling your guests will raving about this dessert long after Thanksgiving).

Even better? You can make it up to 2 weeks in advance!

Ingredients
For the Pie Crust
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter , chilled and cut into cubes (½ cup)
  • 1 large egg
For the Salted Chocolate-Pecan Filling
  • 2 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 2 ounces roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preparation

For the crust, in a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine, then add the butter. Pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg and pulse again to combine. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough forms a crumbly consistency and holds when pinched together. Dump dough out on a lightly floured work surface and form into a flat disc (this will make it easier to roll out later). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the filling, preheat oven to 375˚F. Spread pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast until fragrant and slightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Roll out dough into a 12-inch round and press into a deep 9-inch pie pan. Trim any uneven over-hanging bits, then crimp the edges with your fingers so it has a nice lip. Use a fork or toothpick to dock, or prick, the bottom of the dough in several places, then set a piece of parchment on top of the dough and fill with dried beans or pie weights to prevent it from rising. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and weights and bake uncovered until the dough browns just slightly, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F.

In a medium microwavable bowl, melt the chopped chocolate at 15-second intervals, stirring until thoroughly melted. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine corn syrup, butter, sugar and sea salt. Whisk in eggs, vanilla and cocoa powder, then fold in the melted chocolate and toasted pecans. Pour filling into the pie crust and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is slightly jiggly in the center, about 45 minutes. Tent the pie loosely with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Let the pie cool in the pan before removing.

While the pie is cooling, whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks. Garnish the pie with an extra sprinkle of flaky sea salt and serve slices dolloped with whipped cream.