Easy Granola Bars

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Easy Granola!

Easy Granola!

Who doesn’t like a nice, tasty granola bar? Call it what you will: protein bar, energy bar, “health” bar, as long as it can’t be compared unfavorably to a brick of sawdust, it is probably popular and thusly sells very well. Add chunks of chocolate, or a thin base of chocolate underneath and you probably have the sales leader!

But are they really as healthy as you think? That depends. Like cars, they all tend to have the same basic shape, and they all have many of the same parts – it’s just that some parts are better for you than others. The trick is in knowing which is which.

Why not make your own?

If you make it yourself, you know exactly what goes into it. You can adjust ingredients to meet your desired goals. Want more quick energy? Add a bit more honey. Want more protein? Vitamin E? Zinc? Add some wheat germ. Need the extra crunch? Pumpkin seeds will help, and they pack in some unexpected protein, too!

Based on a recipe from the culinary team at my office, here is an easy recipe for making your own granola bars. And hey, it’s an easy activity kids can help with (except the stove-top and oven parts. Use common sense, people!)

Prep Time: 15 minutes                   Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes                   Cool-down time: 3 hours

This recipe makes 16 bars, maybe more, maybe less, depending on how you cut them.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of rolled oats (as in Quaker Oats found in the cylindrical cardboard package)

1 cup of almond slivers

1 cup of shredded coconut

1/2 cup of pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2/3 cup of honey (use locally harvested, if you can. Legend has it local honey helps build immunity to allergies. Is it true? I have no idea. But it’s a cool idea, isn’t it? Plus, you’ll be helping out a local business. And who’s against that? I didn’t think so!)

1/4 cup of light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries (or any combination of dried fruits, i.e. 1 cup raisins and 1/2 cup cranberries.)

Directions:

–    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. or gas mark 4 for certain UK ovens, or Stufe 3 for das Deutsch – Ofen. [good granola bars know no borders!]

–    Take a small bit of butter and coat the bottom and inside walls of a 9×13 inch baking dish.

–    Now line the pan with parchment paper. Make sure you have enough paper to overlap the sides of the dish. I didn’t do this when we made the bars today, but now I see the value. Trust me – line with parchment paper. Getting the bars out later will be sooooo much easier!

–    In a large heat-resistant (i.e. Pyrex) bowl, toss the oats, almonds, and coconut together.

–    Pour mixture onto baking sheets and spread thin and evenly.

–    Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes; take out, stir gently, re-flatten out, then place back in the oven for 5 more minutes or until toasty and lightly browned.

–    Remove from oven and pour mixture back into large heat-resistant bowl.

–    In a small sauce pan, place the unsalted butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir ingredients together as you heat the mixture over medium heat, just until the mixture starts to boil.

–    Once boiling, reduce heat just a bit and stir for one minute.

–    Pour the hot liquid over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Why wooden? Why wooden you? Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

–    Add the dried fruit and stir again until thoroughly mixed.

–    Pour everything into your prepared 9×13 inch baking dish. Press down until you have an even thickness throughout.

–    Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees F. (gas mark 2 or stufe 1.5)

–    Bake the granola for 20 minutes, then check every few minutes until the desired level of browning is reached. We stopped after 22 minutes.

–    Remove from oven and let cool for three hours. Refrigeration may help but we didn’t try it this time.

When ready, slice the bars and serve. Ours were about 1 inch wide by 6 inches long. If you don’t want to serve them right away, you can wrap individual bars up in plastic bags. Once sealed up, these bars will keep for several days. They make great snacks for traveling, too!

Enjoy!

French Toast Casserole

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French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

French toast casserole is good any time of the day (or night!) A meal, a snack, a guilty pleasure. Call it what you want – I call it delicious!

This is a variation on the original recipe by Ree Drummond, sometimes known as The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. She cooks for her family, which includes a crew of cowboys working at the ranch. Me? Often it’s just two of us so a recipe like this would last us a week of breakfasts. Fortunately, we had the monthly United Methodist Men’s Breakfast at church this morning. There were no complaints and not many leftovers.

Serves: 12-14

Pairs well with fresh blueberries on the side, plus a healthy serving of scrapple for those foolhardy adventurous enough to try it.

Ingredients

1 big loaf of French bread (or the bread of your choice, just nothing too flavorful like pumpernickel or rye)

8 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups of milk (I used 2 percent instead of Ree’s whole milk. Trying to be healthy, right? Umm. Yeah. That’s the ticket.)

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract. Don’t bother with the imitation stuff. Not.the.same.at.all.

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar (be generous here)

1 more teaspoon of cinnamon

and a 1/2 teaspoon more of nutmeg

8 Tablespoons (113 grams) of butter. Unsalted is fine, not required here. Unless you have that extra stick of unsalted butter you bought last Christmas for that one recipe. And then you went out to eat at the pub instead because your brother insulted your sister’s boyfriends and soon enough people were fighting, lamps were broken and then the third time the police were called… Anyhow – a stick of butter.

Maple syrup to taste, no more than a cup.

Directions

Treat a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with either butter or cooking spray

Tear the bread into little bite-sized bits and place in the casserole dish.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Add the butter, blending it with the dry ingredients using a fork. You can stop once the mixture has that grainy, crumbly, sandy type of texture.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

…the next morning…

An hour before the herd awakens, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. / 177 degrees C. / or gas mark 4 if that’s how your oven rolls.

Take the breading and the topping bits out of the refrigerator. Uncover the breading and evenly sprinkle the topping bits on top. (Where else would topping bits go, I wonder?)

Bake uncovered for one hour.

While the casserole is baking, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet.

Ten minutes before the casserole is done, warm up the cup of maple syrup. Not too hot, just warm enough to make you want to stick your finger in and get a taste. (I won’t tell if you do it.)

Ding!

The casserole comes out of the oven and you now get to drizzle the warm maple syrup all over the lightly browned topping. I made criss-cross patterns when I did it. Be creative. It all sinks in so don’t stress on the artistic merit of your drizzling technique. But have some fun, right?

Serving techniques: you can slice this casserole into squares, or you can just let everyone scoop out what they want using a large spoon.

This is a popular dish. Make sure you get some.

Good job, chef!

Bon appetit!

 

 

Savory Zucchini Quiche

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Savory Zucchini Quiche

Savory Zucchini Quiche

Zucchini or courgette, it matters not. The important fact is the taste – and this quiche has it in abundance!

Derived from a recipe found on Facebook (See? Facebook is good for something besides photos of cats) here is a tasty rendition of a zucchini quiche everyone should enjoy.

Ingredients

9 inch pie crust shell (make your own crust if you want – I took the lazy way out and used store bought. But it worked and dinner was ready before the moon rose above the trees.)

4 cups thinly sliced zucchini. Our slices were about an eighth of an inch thick. Too thin and you end up with mush.

And no one likes mush.

1/2 cup of diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

3 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 eggs

2 cups shredded Colby-jack cheese

1/4 cup shredded Bruschetta Jack

2 Tablespoons sharp and creamy mustard

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (gas mark 4)

Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Burning the crust is right out.

Once done, set on wire rack to cool.

In a large sauce pan, saute the zucchini slices in butter; season with the minced garlic. Once the zucchini starts to brown, remove from heat.

Using a large bowl, mix the spices.

Add the two eggs, whisking them into the spices.

Add the shredded cheeses. Mix well.

Add the zucchini and onions; gently fold into the egg-y cheese-y stuff. (You know, stuff. That may be a culinary term.)

Spread the sharp and creamy mustard inside the pie crust.

Fill the pie shell with the zucchini mixture. Level out somewhat so it is evenly distributed inside the shell.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then start checking the quiche every five minutes.

Once the cheese on top starts to brown, the quiche – she is done!

Take out and let rest for 10 minutes.

Ha! Who can wait that long? Pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine and slice that quiche up and dig in!

Happy eating!

Bananas Foster – Eastern Shore Virginia Style!

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Alas, no flambé,  but given my track record for safety, this is probably a good thing.  Nonetheless – when in Cape Charles, Virginia, please visit the Brown Dog Ice Cream store. They are just opening up for the season and are offering a new menu item that has caused quite the stir in this peaceful beachfront village: the Bananas Foster Sundae.

No, not the dessert of the same name from Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans – this one is similar, yet flame-less and named for the brown dog himself, Foster! Imagine a sundae with warm buttery brown sugar and rum sauce drizzled over a melee of sliced fresh banana, whipped cream and puff pastry – all atop three scoops of a vanilla-based, bananas foster-flavored ice cream. I had one last Sunday and I suddenly have a craving for another – just from typing the description. Caveat – you must be 21 years old to get the adult version. Those under 21 can receive the rum-less version, which is also mighty tasty from what others tell me!

E gads! And I am six hours away by fast car. The weekend cannot get here soon enough!

If you are visiting the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, it is worth the trip. Let me end with a photo so you can start salivating, too!

Bananas Foster Sundae at the Brown Dog in Cape Charles, Virginia

Bananas Foster Sundae at the Brown Dog in Cape Charles, Virginia

The Tao of Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Perhaps you have heard of the classic Greek elements of earth, air, fire and water?  These have been long thought to be the building blocks of life as we know it.  Modern day equivalents might be WD-40, duct tape, coffee and chocolate.  But every once in a while, you come across something that transcends the ordinary, contains mystical power beyond reason, and crosses cultural and geopolitical boundaries as freely as the wind blows pollen.

I’m talking about chocolate chip cookies.

Now, I am not going to repeat the recipe I used this morning. It is printed on the back of every bag of chocolate chips made. There are slight variations to be sure, but my go-to version descends from the 1930 originator, Ruth Graves Wakefield and her Toll House Inn.  Stories vary on how her chocolate chip cookie came about, but one thing is clear – the good folks at the inn could not possible have realized how their cookie could change the world.

What do we learn by baking chocolate chip cookies?

Sure, we learn that by mixing together a few tasty ingredients, adding a little heat, and waiting for ten minutes, delicious cookies will result. But what do we really learn?

Discipline.  You can’t leave anything out. You can’t bypass a step.

Discipline – it keep you from eating the cookie dough!

 

Patience.  With my particular oven, set at 375 degrees F., a dozen cookies takes 10 minutes to bake properly. Any less and they are not sufficiently browned; any more and they will have that unpleasant, charred piece of firewood taste.

Patience – yes – the cookies “do” need to cool for at least a few minutes once baked. Really. You can wait.

 

Humility. I may think I am a smart cookie, but I doubt I could have thought up chocolate chip cookies on my own. In fact, chocolate chip cookies, in my opinion, come from heaven. Mrs. Wakefield was just the messenger, a modern day culinary prophet if you will. Perhaps she should be made a saint? Worth considering, me thinks.  This is on par with the first goat herder that decided to put coffee beans in hot water.

Love. Who remembers making cookies as a child, learning from grandma or mom? That’s love on a pan, people. And for those who did not experience that rite of passage, why not start the tradition now? (check out the next paragraph.)

Empathy. We like to eat cookies of all types, just ask the Girl Scouts. Each year, in the Spring, they sell literally tons of cookies in order to fund their programs. But we as individuals also bake cookies to simply give away. In December, millions of cookies are sent to friends and relatives (notice the distinction?) One of the best cookie giveaway programs ever involves volunteer bakers from across the land, firing up their ovens in November and December  to produce truckloads of cookies for people who are in prison. Sponsored by the Kairos Prison Ministry, this cookie giveaway program may do more for rehabilitation than any government sponsored program.

So where to from here?

Let’s see if we can harness the power of chocolate chip cookies for the side of good.  If you know someone who could use a little gift of joy, why not bake some chocolate chip cookies and send a tin to them?

Sometimes words are not enough. And as one person recently told me: sometimes it’s best to say nothing and just send cookies.

Now get baking, good people!

Don’t make war – make cookies!

Yes! Lemon Meringue Pie for Dinner!

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Lemon Meringue Pie

So my fabulous photographer, whose nickname is  “Double M,” decided she wanted a lemon meringue pie as part of her birthday dinner. While most families would put such a dish at the end of a meal, we are not most families.

Pie first!

And she even baked it! A special thanks to Double M’s grandma for the recipe, here is our version of Lemon Meringue Pie!

First – either make a plain crust or buy a plain crust. Place it in a large glass pie dish and bake it 8 to 10 minutes at 475 degrees F. Set aside to cool.

Now, the filling:

Put the following in a blender, in this order:

– juice and pulp of 4 lemons

– zest of 1 lemon

– 12 egg yolks (save the egg whites for later!)

– 2 cups of sugar

– 6 Tablespoons of corn starch

– 3 cups of hot water (water from the tap is fine as long as it’s hot)

– 4 Tablespoons flour

Blend away until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat on the stove top (medium heat) stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to boil. Take off the stove and blend in 2 Tablespoons of butter. Stir until smooth.

Time to make the meringue!

12 egg whites (see? I told you they would come in handy!)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Put the three ingredients in a chilled metal bowl and using an electric handheld mixer with whisk attachment, beat on highest speed until stiff peaks form. You can do this by hand, but be prepared to get tired, very quickly. Just use the electric appliance. It’s okay, even for you purists!

Pour the lemon mixture into the baked pie crust. Cover with the meringue.

Bake at 400 degrees F. until peaks are a delicate brown.

Keep watch! It won’t take too long.

Once done, you should really let it cool before slicing. You can chill it, also, for excellent slicing.

We couldn’t wait, so as you can see by the picture, the slice started to fall apart a bit. But for a birthday dinner – it was perfect!!

Happy eating! And for Double M, happy birthday!!

Birthday Pie!

Lemon Chess Pie – checkmate every time!

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Lemon Chess Pie

I know what you are saying – didn’t I just have a post about pie? Why yes, I did. But is there really anything wrong with more pie?

Judging by the heads shaking, we are in agreement.

Today was a special day here at the old homestead, with someone graduating from high school. This monumental occasion called for a special dessert, and the honoree asked for some kind of lemon treat. Thanks to world renowned pastry chef, Gale Gand, here is my new favorite lemon chess pie recipe. It’s just plain awesome!

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon fine yellow cornmeal

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice with pulp

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cornmeal. Add the eggs and blend well with a whisk. Add the milk and mix, followed by the melted butter, lemon rind and juice. Whisk until everything is well combined.

(Very) lightly butter a glass, 9-inch pie plate. Carefully place the pie crust into the plate, making sure it is fitting nicely. Make a nice top edge if you like.

Pour the filling directly onto the crust.

Using foil, cover the crust edges. Try not to touch the filling.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes

Cool and serve.

Lemon Chess Pie and Coffee - Mmmm, breakfast!

This was such an easy recipe and it took hardly no time at all to put together. Total time, with baking, for me was one hour.  I baked it in the morning, put it in the fridge before we left for graduation, and served a great post-grad dessert when we came back. Delicious, cool and very lemony, if that’s a real word?!

Enjoy!!

Key Lime Pie – for Breakfast?

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The Best Key Lime Pie - Ever

Absolutely!

I make key lime pie for special occasions such as my wife’s birthday, our anniversary, or anytime I need to get back on her good side. Okay, really I haven’t been in *that* pickle yet but it’s always good to have a back-up plan.

Regardless – if you want a delicious pie that isn’t too hard to make and will impress all of your friends and convert most of your enemies, try this one. Courtesy of Joe’s Stone Crab, I have yet to find a better, more user friendly recipe.

And yes, I made this for breakfast. There were no complaints.

Here we go: Preheat the oven to 350 degress F.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

Filling

3 egg yolks

3 limes -zest from each. Save the limes!

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (use the limes, Luke…)

Topping

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

For the graham cracker crust, grease up a 9 inch pie pan. I have used glass ones and dark gray ones – this recipe works either way.

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar. Then pour in the melted butter and combine thoroughly. Press the mixture into the pie pan. Remember, you don’t want a really thick crust, but try to make it even. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Did you leave the oven on? I hope so. Go back and turn it back on. It will really help out soon.

For the filling: using an electric mixer set to high speed, whisk the egg yolks for 5 minutes so they get light and fluffy. Carefully add the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk for 4 more minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the lime juice. Mix for about 30 seconds, no more than a minute. Pour directly onto the baked pie crust and bake the pie for 10 minutes or until set. Every time I have made this recipe, 10 minutes has been perfect. Just sayin’. Don’t overcook the pie! When done, cool the pie on your wire cooling rack.

Time to start the topping!

Again, using the electric mixer set on high speed, whip the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until nearly stiff. You are almost done. I know you want to eat right now, but wait – there’s more to do!

Put the pie and the bowl of topping in the refrigerator to cool even more. After 30 minutes or more, slice up the pie and dig in! Pairs well with ice cold sparkling water or champagne if you dare!

Happy eating!

The Best Blueberry Pie Ever!

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The Best Blueberry Pie Ever!

So before I get slammed by the “pie” purists, the only reason I call this treat a pie is that it is cooked in a pie dish. It’s shaped like a pie, so I call it a pie. You can call it whatever you want, but once you have a slice, you’ll call it…

The Best Blueberry Pie ever!

Okay, really it’s a blueberry crumb cake. I thought I would make one this week in honor of the Chincoteague Blueberry Festival. If you remember the book “Misty of Chincoteague,” this is the same place. It is at the upper end of the Virginia Eastern Shore, right close to the Maryland state line. And this weekend is the big pony swim, where the wild ponies swim across the little channel to the little town of Chincoteague. There is a lot more to the story, as well as the Blueberry Festival, and you can learn all about it by going to ChincoteagueBlueberryFestival.com.

I would tell you all about it, but it happens that I will be out of town this weekend. Timing, people, it’s all about timing. Well, maybe next year. Until then, try this recipe I had clipped from some magazine years ago – it really is the best blueberry pie (cake) ever!

Streusel topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter (that’s half a stick for some of us…)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch o’ salt
2 drops of vanilla

“Pie”
1 pint blueberries, washed, stems removed
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups (plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Making the streusel topping
– Mix the streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Blend until it resembles a fine, moist meal.
– Set aside. Don’t eat any. I know it tastes good. Just don’t do it…yet!

2. Preparing the pie plate
– line the bottom and sides of a standard (9 inch or so) GLASS pie dish with wax paper. I just took a big piece, placed it in the dish, and then trimmed it later once the pie filling had been added. By the way, the word GLASS is in all caps for a reason. A metal pie dish will be a disaster, and you will probably need a fire extinguisher later. Keep reading, you will understand…

3. Mixing the pie innards, sometimes referred to as batter for you cake enthusiasts.
– Put the berries in a bowl, add 1/4 cup of flour. Toss until the berries are coated. Remove the berries and place them on a paper towel. Set aside.
– In a large bowl, blend in the remaining dry ingredients. Once thoroughly mixed, make a little volcano – sometimes called “making a well” by people who know. I guess you now know which group I fall into…hee hee hee.
– In a different bowl (I know, I know, this is taking a lot of bowls) mix the non-dry ingredients. I whisked the wet stuff for about a minute. Perfect-o-men-tay.

4. Puttin’ it all together…
– Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff volcano. Make some sound effects, it helps. “Aye aye ayieeee, not the lava!!!!” Have some fun with it. People will leave you alone; it’ll be great.
– Using a wooden spoon, Chef Rudolf’s rule #2, mix up the erupting volcano until it is like a smooth batter.
– Gently fold in the blueberries.
– Pour the whole mess into the pie dish.

5. Cooking, or is it baking?
– Microwave (yes, that’s right) uncovered for 7 minutes in a 1000 – 1200 watt microwave. If your microwave oven does not automatically spin the dish, make sure you rotate the dish after 4 minutes.
– If you have a 600 – 700 watt microwave oven, cook the pie for 9 minutes.
– If your microwave has less power than the above models, go get a new one and come back and try again! Okay, cook the pie for 10 minutes and check to see if a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. You know the deal…if you don’t, ask someone who is over the age of 40.

6. Eating
– Wait a few minutes to eat this pie. The blueberries are like little balls of tasty fire when they come right out of the oven. It will be tough, but you can do it. I have faith!

This works well as an after dinner dessert, as well as a great breakfast treat!

Try it and let me know what you think!

Happy eating!

A slice of Blueberry Pie having an identity crisis...

There is Chocolate Pecan Pie in Heaven, and in the kitchen!

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Chocolate Pecan (pah-cahn') Pie

So what do you get a guy who has everything? I mean, really. I have a nice house, a job, two little puppies and the best family ever. We are all in good health and my daughter has an A in physics (without my help. With it she would have a C…). I have been truly blessed. But there was this birthday see…

Chocolate Pecan Pie, you say? Why, yes! You would be absolutely correct. Putting aside her studies of trains leaving New York and Los Angeles at different speeds, number one daughter made a pecan pie for my birthday. It didn’t last long, so she just made another. Courtesy of Betty Crocker, this proves that if you can read and follow directions, the little red cookbook will not steer you wrong! Try it – you’ll love it!

First, either make your favorite pie crust or get one of those pre-made ones. The food police won’t get you; it’s alright. And… if you roll it out a little and then hand pinch the edges once it is in the pie dish, people won’t be able to tell the difference.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)

Place prepared crust into a 9 inch pie pan. We use glass, but that’s just us.

Now for the good part:

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (don’t bother with the fake stuff. Live a little.)
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup light corn syrup (see? what’s the point of margarine?)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup pecan halves

Melt the chocolate with the butter.

Beat the sugar, chocolate/butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs with a hand beater. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.

Bake until set, 40 – 50 minutes. Once the top looks “cooked”, remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for about 20 minutes.

Once cool enough to put in the refrigerator without hurting the fridge, put it in the fridge to thoroughly cool down and set, at least two hours.

Now this last part is important. Have at least three friends over when you take the pie out of the cooler. If you don’t…you may end up eating the whole thing yourself, in one sitting. That would taste great for a few minutes, but this is just too rich. And besides, you may need those friends some day and you can always remind them about how you gave them the best pie they ever had – Chocolate Pecan Pie!