Dark Chocolate Pie with Cocoa Nib Praline


10 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp Coarse Kosher Salt
1-1/3 Cups all purpose flour

Cocoa nib praline
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp Coarse Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Cacao Nibs
1/4 Cup pecans, chopped

Chocolate filling
2-1/4 Cups whole milk, divided
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp cornstarch
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/2 Cups chilled whipping cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-in diameter glass pie dish. Mix melted butter, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl, then add flour and mix until well blended. Press dough onto bottom and up the sides of prepared pie dish; crimp edges. Bake crust until it is golden brown and thoroughly cooked, about 18 min. Remove pan from oven and cool crust completely on cooling rack. [Keep the oven at 350F.]

For cocoa nib praline:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients (all but the nibs and pecans) in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cocoa nibs and chopped pecans. Drop this mixture, one tablespoonful at a time, onto the lined baking sheet, spaced about 1 in apart. Bake at 350F until mixture spreads and is deep golden brown, about 18 min (don’t worry: the batter will melt together into 1 piece on the cookie sheet). Remove pan from oven; cool pralines completely on the lined baking sheet. After it is completely cooled, break praline into irregular pieces or shards. (This step can be prepared up to one day in advance. Store in an airtight container, in single layer, at room temperature.)

For chocolate filling:
Using a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 Cups milk to simmer. Remove pan from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 Cup milk to blend; whisk in the cocoa powder and cornstarch, and continue to whisk until smooth. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the egg/sugar/cocoa mixture.

Return mixture to saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Remove immediately from heat. Add bittersweet chocolate and butter; continue to whisk until ingredients are melted and batter is smooth.

Pour chocolate filling into the cooled pie crust. Refrigerate pie until filling is cold and set, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover the finished pie and keep it chilled.)

Using an electric mixer, beat the chilled whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Cut pie into wedges. Serve with whipped cream and praline pieces.