Every Fall, I look forward to pie baking season like a bowhunter awaits deer hunting season. I gather my tools the night before and arrange them neatly on the counter as a woodsman would in preparation for an early start. In the wee hours of the morning, I prepare a pot of strong black coffee and begin to stalk the illusive ingredients. I’m on the trail of Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie, so I stealthily raid the liquor and baking cabinet for my prey.
I sight my prey with the marksmanship of a hunter in a tree stand. I field dress the dough until it’s stretched out like a bearskin rug. I toast the pecans until the kitchen smells like opening day of hunting season. I stuff the pie shell with filling like a taxidermied deer (with a big rack, of course).
That’s probably graphic enough, you get the idea….I live for pie season.
Pecan pie is an indulgence that only comes once (ok, maybe twice) a year for me, so I make sure I’m prepared for opening day; Thanksgiving. While pecan pie is decidedly sweet, this recipe for Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie is more rich than sweet. The maple syrup brings a level of flavor and luxury that sugary corn syrup simply doesn’t offer. The bourbon mellows the sweetness, and a bit of coarse fluer de sel brings subtle support to the herd of flavors.
Basically, this recipe is like a 12 point buck among a field of doe. It’s smooth and full-bodied with masculine characteristics, but it’s not too sweet or <insert Grandpa joke here> doe-ghy.
Because most of us are no longer hunters, at the very least we can do our best to gather fine ingredients and create something special that we are proud to share with our families and friends. If you’re on the hunt for a new pie recipe, try this one for your Turkey Day gathering. I promise your loved ones will be thankful for it (and for you).
While eating this pie is rewarding, I wonder if I’d feel more accomplished if I had mounted the pie plate on the wall as a placard of my achievement? Hmmm.
- All Butter Vodka Dough Recipe - 1 disk
- maple syrup - 1 cup
- brown sugar - 3/4 cup
- unsalted butter - 3 tablespoons
- bourbon - 1/4 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
- coarse sea salt - 1 teaspoon
- eggs at room temperature - 3
- halved pecans - 1 1/2 cups
- egg - 1
- water - 1 teaspoon
- salt - dash
- raw or flavored sugar - 1-2 tablespoons
- You will need a single disk of prepared pie dough, you can't go wrong with my All Butter Vodka Dough Recipe. (This recipe makes 2 disks, I suggest making both and freezing the second one to have on hand for your next pie baking adventure).
- Remove the dough disk from refrigerator and roll out onto a lightly floured surface into a 12" round about 1/8" thick.
- Gently transfer the rolled dough into a 9" pan, leaving a 1-2" overhang all the way around. Tuck the edge underneath itself to form a ring around the edge of the pie plate.
- Flute the edges by pinching the dough between your thumb and pointer finger on one hand and your pointer finger knuckle on the other. Use a fork to prick small holes into the bottom of the pie shell.
- Place the pie shell in the freezer and chill for at least 20 minutes.
- While the pie shell is baking, preheat oven to 350° and bake the pecans for 7-8 minutes until they start to brown slightly and you smell a nutty aroma.
- Turn the oven up to 400°.
- Place the frozen pie shell on a baking sheet and line with a layer of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill the lined shell with beans, pie weights or rice. Be sure the weights fill the entire shell and reach to the edges and up the sides.
- Bake with weights for about 15 minutes, until the crust barely begins to turn a golden color and starts to look dry. Remove the lining and beans and bake for another 5 minutes until the bottom of the shell looks dry, too. Allow to cool on a rack.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 350°.
- While the crust blind bakes, prepare the filling.
- Start by whisking the brown sugar and maple syrup together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Whisk in the butter, bourbon, salt and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool.
- Once the mixture has cooled way down, lightly beat in the eggs. Mix until the mixture is fully blended and starts to thicken. If the mixture is too warm, the eggs will begin to cook and the yolks will start to curdle. Yuck, don't do that.
- Place the blind baked pie shell on a baking sheet and arrange the toasted pecans in the bottom of the pie shell. Slowly pour the filling over the top.
- Bake the pie at 350° for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is set; rotating the pan halfway through. The filling should be just barely jiggly in the center.
- Place on a cooling rack. While the pie cools, roll out the extra pie dough and cut desired shapes.
- Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with raw or flavored sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until the pie crust cookies start to turn a golden color.
- Decorate the pie with baked crust cookies in any design your heart desires. <3 Serve plain or à la mode with a simple vanilla bean ice cream.
- My All Butter Vodka Dough Recipe is a no-fail recipe that works great for all types of pies.