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Bourbon Pecan Pie

November 30, 2010

Well, another Thanksgiving come and gone. And this one was pretty fantastic. Patrick’s birthday always falls within a few days of Thanksgiving and, every five years or so, on Thanksgiving itself. This year, his birthday was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But for me, Thanksgiving = Patrick’s birthday, so we celebrated in full force on turkey day. This of course meant presents. And birthday candles. And “happy birthday to you…”

But we never have birthday cake on Thanksgiving. First: Thanksgiving is all about pies. Cake and Thanksgiving (for me at least) simply don’t go together. Second: bourbon is Patrick’s favorite drink—in a Manhattan, mixed with ginger ale, or simply on the rocks. So, since our first Thanksgiving in our first home together, this bourbon pecan pie has been the only logical choice for a birthday/Thanksgiving dessert. Of course, we also have pumpkin pies. And this year I made an apple pecan crumble too. But the bourbon pecan pie is for the birthday boy, and it has been four years and running.

This year, however, I never even got to taste this delectable pie. And no, it’s not that my uncle ate the whole thing before I had a chance to grab a slice. Scout had a friend staying with us for the long weekend, and the little monsters—er, angels—helped themselves to some bourbon pecan pie (and some pumpkin too) we weren’t looking.

And by “helped themselves to some,” I mean that they devoured the entire thing. Fortunately, a few slices of this pie were consumed by humans (Patrick included) before it was so cruelly snatched away. And, of course, everyone claimed that it was the “best” pie that I made this year. Drat!

Oh well, guess this means that (twist my arm) I”l just have to make this pie again at Christmas…

BOURBON PECAN PIE

Adapted from Paula Deen

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, beaten (for filling) + 1 egg white (egg wash for pie crust)
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons good quality bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)
2 1/4 cups raw pecan halves

1/2 recipe of butter piecrust (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out one disk of all-butter pie dough (recipe below) on a lightly floured surface until it forms a 12-inch disk (about 1/4 inch thick). Transfer dough to a pie pan, and gently crimp the edges with your fingers. Refrigerate until you’re ready to fill the pie.

Stir together the sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl.  Add the three eggs (beaten) and bourbon, and then the dark corn syrup. Stir to combine. Add the pecans, and stir again to combine. Pour mixture into your unbaked pie shell, and place on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drippings). Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white onto the edges of the piecrust (this will give it a nice, golden color once its baked).

Bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue to bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until pie is set in the center. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

BUTTER PIECRUST

I like to make my own piecrust, as I always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s incredibly easy to throw together. But if you don’t have the time, a store bought piecrust works perfectly well here.

From Smitten Kitchen

Makes enough dough for two single-crust pies, or one double-crust pie.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

Special tools: pastry blender

Fill a one-cup measuring cup with water. Drop a few ice cubes in so that the water gets very cold. Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Dice the butter into small cubes (about 1/2 inch), and drop into bowl. Use the pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until the butter is the size of small peas. This won’t take long (just a few minutes), and you don’t want to over mix, so stop as soon as the butter is pea-sized.

Drizzle 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the dough together. You’ll probably need another 1/4 cup of cold water to bring the dough together, but add it only a tablespoon at a time. Once large clumps form, use your hands to gently knead all the clumps into one mound of dough.

Divide the dough into two disk-shaped mounds, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one to two hours before rolling out.

This bourbon pecan pie is a single-crust pie. If you’re not making multiple pies, save the other disk of plastic-wrapped dough by freezing it (just make sure it’s well-protected in a freezer bag).

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