Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nothing says the Holidays quite like Pecan Pie!

The holiday season is officially upon us.  All of us New Yorkers can tell this by a few indicators:  you can't leave your apartment without bundling up, we have already seen our first few flurries, and every single store front in Manhattan has been advertising their Holiday Sale since after Halloween.  My office is having our official "Non-Denominational Winter Month" Celebration (when you work for the government, it's all about being politically correct) complete with a turkey, different side dishes, and of course desserts.  I know it probably comes as a huge shocker that I requested to make a dessert, and there is no better dessert to make than a Pecan Pie.  Our party isn't until next Friday, but it being a little chilly outside, I decided to stay in and do a dry run.  I realized that the last Pecan Pie I made was before I left for Peace Corps over 4 years ago.  What does this mean?  It's been a long time let's get started!

Dough Ingredients:

1 1/4 C. Flour
2 tsp. Sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 stick Butter (cold), diced
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Flour, for rolling the dough

5 tbsp. Butter
1 C. Light Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 C. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 C. Chopped Pecans
1-2 tbsp. Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 Eggs, lightly beaten

So, start with the crust.  You are going to make the dough by hand with no mixer involved.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  With your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter.  If the mixture gets too warm, just put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to keep it cool.  Add the egg and stir the dough together with a for (or by hand if you want) in the bowl.  If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon of cold water over the mixture.

Take the mixture and form it into a disk, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (about an hour).

On the counter, flour the surface lightly and roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12" circle about 1/8" thick.  Transfer the dough to a 9" pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge.  Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge even with the rim of the pan.  Put the pie shell in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Take the pie shell out of the freezer and using a fork, poke holes over the bottom of the pan (this helps the dough from bubbling up while baking).  Bake the pie shell until it is golden brown, about 9-11 minutes.  Take the shell out and set aside and turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Now it is time for the filling: in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Bring to a boil over a medium heat, and while you stir constantly, let this boil for a minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla.  Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth, and then with the pie shell on a cookie sheet, pour the mixture into the pie shell and place it in the oven.  Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose (this should be about 40 minutes).  Cool on a rack and then serve it up!

This recipe is one of the better ones out there.  It is really simple to make and the flavor is amazing.  I over baked my pie by about 5 minutes (I baked it for 45 minutes), and so I will make sure to adjust this for my holiday party.  I am probably going to have to make 2 pies to make sure everyone gets a piece!

1 comment:

  1. i think the only time i ever liked pecan pie was a bourbon bacon one that i had in a cooking class...maybe i should give it another try?