Saturday, November 19, 2011

Perfect Pecan Pie!

Artist’s conception - real pic below!

In a rare instance of Amy Boland posting a holiday recipe in advance of a holiday, here’s the pecan pie I made last Thanksgiving and plan to make again!

There are two reasons to like this pie. One, it is full of deep, dark, sugary-buttery-caramely-toasty flavors. Two, it calls for bourbon and I don’t know anything about the stuff. I get to learn! Yay!

Last year I blindly got a pint of Wild Turkey. This elicited reactions ranging from indifference to dismay in the bourbon drinkers of my acquaintance.

This year I went to South Lyndale Liquors—where they will, upon request, pour you tiny tastes of booze from sample bottles lined up on the barrelheads of actual casks conditioned specially for them to sell. The guy who poured for me also explained what I was tasting and why the flavors were there. I chose Buffalo Trace.

So now I feel I have picked a winner, and I’m going to have plenty of bourbon left over afterwards. Um. Pie-making party at my house?

Oh, wait, yeah, the PIE! This IS supposed to be a post about pie.

Perfect Pecan Pie
Post-Thanksgiving pie pic update

I copied this recipe out of a column in the Star Tribune in 1997. Usually I don’t post recipes I didn’t create or significantly modify, because I think the person who wrote the recipe should get the credit (and should get stuck doing the typing). But since I don’t think we can go back in time and purchase a copy of the newspaper from an unknown day in late fall 1997, I’m prepared to make an exception.

Also I recall from my glamorous youth, when I worked on food books at a children’s publishing company, that the Copyright Guardians consider recipes to be formulae. So I’m not running afoul of the law, either. Potential haters, please make a note.

1 c dark brown sugar
⅔ c cane syrup OR ⅓ c light corn syrup and ⅓ c dark molasses
¼ c unsalted butter
3 T bourbon
½ t vanilla
½ t salt
4 eggs
2-3 T half & half
2 heaping c pecan pieces
1 unbaked single 9” pie crust
A big handful of pecan halves

Heat oven to 350°. Melt the sugar, syrup, butter, bourbon, vanilla, and salt together. Heat to boiling and boil one minute, stirring constantly. Let cool.

Beat the eggs with the half & half until frothy. Add this to the syrup, beating until well mixed. Stir in the pecan pieces.

Pour into the pie shell and top with a layer of pecan halves. (Make it look pretty.) Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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