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.