Fri 12 Nov 2010
Friday Pie-Day: Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie
Okay, as most of you know Thanksgiving is coming up. Something that has always been a staple at my family TGs has been Pecan Pie. I love the stuff, but there is always something cloying about it. Some years it makes my teeth feel soft.
I just happened upon the phrase Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie in, I don’t know, I think it was Real Simple magazine. It seems silly that this is the first year that I read about this pie because it sort of seems like a no-brainer now.
I found a ton on recipe’s on line, most of them following Martha Stewart’s version word for word. That sort of made me want to steer clear of that one. Then I found a vegan version, but it used corn syrup, which I am definitely not into.
Finally, I happened upon on from a web site called Barbara Adams: Beyond Wonderful. Yes, the name of the web site makes me a little nauseous — in the same way that some Pecan Pies make my teeth feel soft. But liked her recipe: It had more maple syrup and more bourbon than the others. So her recipe is what I used for my base.
So, the critique: I really liked this pie. I think it is the best one yet. My wife and I disagree on this. She still dreams about the Chocolate Pie.
This pie is the most complicated flavor-wise, which I particularly liked. The first thing that hits is a bit of a citrussy bite. This comes from the orange zest, but also from the hit of orange blossom water that I’ve been adding to things lately.
There is a breathy smooth nose of bourbon to the chewing that is only placeable if you know about the bourbon. This is enhanced by a middle sweetness that is just right for me.
There is a soft grittiness to the internal custard that I quite like. I have always found the smooth, toothless, gelatinous middles of most Pecan Pies (especially the mass-marketed variety) to be almost repulsive.
My only real problem with this pie is the crust, which is totally my fault. I used Alton Brown’s Applejack crust —except with Bourbon as my liquid — which wasn’t the problem. The problem is that I overworked it in rolling it out and didn’t parbake it long enough.
So, make sure that you parbake your crust until it’s done (which I guess isn’t parbaking).
Okay, here is the recipe:1 9-inch pie crust 2 cups pecan halves 4 large eggs 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup real maple syrup 3 tablespoons good quality bourbon (Maker’s Mark works well) 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon orange blossom water 1/2+ teaspoon sea salt or fleur de sel 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Soak the pecans in enough bourbon to cover them for at least an hour. Then let them dry for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the piecrust and place it in the pie pan. I used a tart pan because it looks cool.
Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet.
Place the piecrust and pecans on different racks in the preheated oven. Bake both for 10 minutes. The crust can take longer, so keep an eye on things. But make sure to remove the pecans before they burn. Remove and cool both completely.
Turn the oven down to 275 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon (I used the bourbon from the previous pecan soaking— orange rind, vanilla ½ teaspoon of orange blossom water, and ½ teaspoon salt.
Whisk in the cooled butter.
Roughly chop one cup of the toasted pecans and add them to the egg mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell.
Place the rest of the pecans decoratively on top of the pie, making sure to coat the pecans in the pie mixture.
Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt. This is key.
Bake for 1 hour.
Serve with freshly whipped cream flavored with a few teaspoons of bourbon and sugar to taste.
Let’s see what the wife says:
The filling is delectable, not too boozy. But the crust is eh…not flaky, just there.
Don’t know what pie is for next week, so email suggestions.
Also, hoping for a big announcement Monday. Stay tuned!