Art Smith’s Hamilton County Chocolate Pecan Pie

Is there anything more quintessentially southern than a pecan pie? This 19th century variant of classic chess pie is a special holiday favorite where pecan trees grow native. The turn of the millennium shook things up with pecan pie lovers creating several popular variants, such as chocolate and bourbon inspired pies. With the so many new restaurants that opened in Disney Springs recently, it's no surprise that pecan pie is showing up on menus. I fancy myself a pecan pie connoisseur, so I headed to Art Smith's Homecoming Florida Kitchen to see what the King of Southern Cuisine had in store.

Generations of Flavor: Hamilton County Chocolate Pecan PieGenerations of Flavor: Hamilton County Chocolate Pecan Pie

Homecoming is a fantastic restaurant and quickly shot to the top of my favorite Disney restaurants list. I can not say enough good things about the meal I ate there - but right now let's focus on pie.

When our fabulous waiter set the piece of pie down in front of me the first thing I noticed was how dark and solid it looked. The dense slice on my plate was about half the height that I expected it to be sitting next to the hand scooped vanilla bean ice cream. I tapped on the top and as I picked off a couple of the delicious nuts that were used as a garnish. The candied pecans, also make a strong showing on the Jasper Board starter. Here though, they add a nice foil to the sweetness on the rest of the plate.

I Could Eat The Candied Pecans All DayI Could Eat The Candied Pecans All Day

This pie didn't have the familiar glossy look, but on closer inspection I determined that it was due to the fact that it was absolutely jam packed with chocolate chips. Using the side of my fork I cut down into the piece of pie which cracked as it went through a dense layer of pecans, chips and down through the thin crust. The thin, almost tart like, shape of the pie held - reminding me more of a very elaborate cookie than pie.

Chocolate is the dominant flavor here with chunky dark chips also prominent in the texture along with crunchy pecans. The bottom layer of custard (part of a pecan pie that not everyone enjoys) has been reduced in this version, and much more solid than in a classic pie. This was a dish that truly needed the scoop of ice cream to mellow the richness and provide an overall creaminess.

Rich Dark Chocolate Takes Center StageRich Dark Chocolate Takes Center Stage

According to the menu, this is a 100 year old family recipe coming straight from Chef Art's table to yours - and it was delicious. However, this pecan pie recipe is so solid and chocolate forward in its flavor that it just left me wanting for a piece of pecan pie. While still excellent and a chocolate lovers dream, it may have very well been then only down point in one of the best overall meals I have ever consumed.

Want to know more about Chef Art Smith's Homecoming Florida Kitchen? Click here to Read A Full Review of Homecoming from our friends over at the Disney Food Blog. I'll give you a hint though, they loved Chef Art's too!

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