Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kitty's Very Best Pecan Pie

My family loves pecan pie. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas--and something pretty close on Derby Day (if you're from Kentucky, you'll know what I mean !) ). But, if you're like me, you like the idea of pecan pie. I love pecans. It seems like I should love a pie made from them. The reality, however, is a pecan-flavoured goo that's so sweet it makes your teeth hurt. I tend to choose another dessert on occasions when pecan pie is served.

But today, today I made a pecan pie for myself. One that I believed I would like, throwing family recipes and traditions to the wind! And it was glorious! A pie that is firm enough to hold its shape, with toasty, nutty, caramelly flavour running through it, enhancing, not overwhelming the flavor of the pecans. I love this pie.

The secret to this pie is golden syrup. It's not as overwhelmingly sweet as the cornsyrup traditionally used in pecan pie, and lends its own incredible flavour to the pie. It tastes like caramel. I also used raw sugar, which adds its own not-just-sweet flavour, a little like brown sugar, but different. You could sub light brown sugar, if you don't have raw sugar on hand. I also snuck in a little Kahlua. I'm used to pecan pie tasting like Bourbon. I don't like that. I prefer the richness of the coffee liqueur over the straight booziness of Bourbon. If you like that flavor, though, go for it! Dark rum also works very nicely.

You might have trouble finding golden syrup locally, I did. I ordered mine from Amazon here. It's almost 6 bucks a bottle, and this pie takes almost the entire thing, but it's soooo worth it.

Two other unusual things you might want to get if you bake a lot of pies are a digital kitchen scale with a tare function, I got mine for 5 bucks on eBay, and a deep tart pan (this is the one I got). You don't need a tart pan, an ordinary pie plate will work but it does make cutting and serving so much easier, and you can make such lovely, deep pies in it. I also enjoy displaying freestanding pies on cake plates. :D

Without further ado, on to the recipe!

Toast 11 oz. (by weight) of pecans in a cast iron skillet with 2 Tbs butter. Use these pecans in the following recipes.

Pecan Pastry:
3 oz. (by weight) toasted pecans, ground
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbs butter, cold, cut into pieces
3 Tbs water
1 Tbs coffee liqueur, bourbon, or rum

In a food processor, pulse the pecans until finely ground.
Add the flour and salt, pulse to combine.
Add the cold butter all at once, and pulse until coarsely combined.
Add the water and liqueur and process until the mixture forms a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
If the dough is sticky, work in a little more flour.
Shape dough into a disc, and place in the refrigerator until needed.

3 eggs
4 Tbs butter, melted and slightly cooled
2/3 cup raw, or light brown, sugar
8 oz. (by weight, est. 2/3 cup) golden syrup
1 Tbs coffee liqueur, bourbon, or rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz. (by weight) chopped toasted pecans
2 oz. (by weight) toasted pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Roll out the pastry to about 15" and place into you 10"x2" tart pan. If desired you can use excess pastry dough to make decorations for the top of the pie. I used a Wilton silicone mold to make the decoration for my pie. Freeze any pastry decorations while you make the filling.

Whisk together the eggs and butter until smooth.
Add the sugar, syrup, liqueur, vanilla, and salt, and whisk to combine.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the bottom of the prepared crust.
Pour the egg mixture over the pecans.
Place your pie in the bottom third of your oven and bake for 20 minutes.
The filling should look somewhat puffed, and be thickened enough for your decorations to sit on top.
Add the reserved 2 oz. of whole pecan halves in a ring around the outer edge of the pie. Also, pull any pastry decorations you may have made out of the freezer and place them where desired.

Reduce the heat to 350F, and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

When the pie is done, the filling should look puffy, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the pie should come out clean.

Cool your pie in the pan, on a cooling rack. The filling will fall as it cools.
If you used a tart pan, set the pie on a large can or heavy glass, and pull the pan edge ring down and away from the pie. Slide the pie off onto your serving plate.
Eat with icecream!


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