"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Do you love pecan pie as much as I do? It's the best, isn't it? I have to be honest though... I didn't realize I had a devoted love for pecan pie until last fall. I didn't grow up having pecan pie at Thanksgiving; there were far more important pies to be made on that glorious day where you can stuff your face and not be ashamed. I always knew about pecan pie, but the weird, jelly stuff was a confusing concept to me. Why did it look the way it did? What did it taste like? Why was it jelly?


There's no need to ask questions. Just accept pecan pie for the delicious, sweet gift from the Food Gods that it is. 

Now that I've developed a love for pecan pie, I've become a pecan-pie-baking-machine. I can't lie, it's something you have to master- especially when you dub yourself a "southern cook". I had a phase for a while where I craved it constantly and I wanted to try it in all forms, shapes and sizes. So I made it- several times over. My family and I finally got sick of pecan pie, so pecan pie and I took ourselves a little break.

Now we're back on full force.

This is no ordinary pecan pie... this is bourbon pecan pie. That means it's laced with that sweet, "can't-find-another-flavor-like-it" whiskey flavor. Don't you think that makes it a little more southern? Me too.

I, of course, turned to one of my favorite food bloggers, Pioneer Woman, for her delicious pecan pie recipe. I've made it several times and it's never failed me. I just happen to like to spice it up a bit....with booze! You've been introduced to the Pioneer Woman right? If you haven't, do yourself a favor and get lost in her website. I know I have several times. The pictures she has with each of her recipes will make your mouth drool and make you crawl  walk to the kitchen and look for all of the ingredients to see if you can make it too at that very second. Her writing is hilarious and she makes you feel like you could be friends in real life. I know my girl Hayley knows what I'm talking about!

Let's get cookin'!

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Recipe Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 pie crust, unbaked (recipe below)
1 c. sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 whole eggs, beaten
2-3 tbsp. bourbon or whiskey (Really, this is optional, but it tastes amazing with it!)
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Pie Crust:
1/2 c. (1/2 stick) of Crisco shortening
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. water

Let's start off by making the pie crust. We want to get that ready to go before we make the pie filling.

This pie crust has never failed me. It's totally old school, but it's reliably flaky and perfect.

In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and the salt. Stir it around so everything get's mixed and evenly distributed. Then cut your stick of shortening in half and place it in the bowl. (Note: If you aren't using the sticks and are just spooning it out of the tub, that's fine too. The sticks are just a lot easier to measure.)

Have I told you about my pastry cutter? This one was my Grandma's. I absolutely love it. You can tell that the wood handle used to be red, but it was either washed or used so much that it's now just wood-colored. You can still see a few streaks of red. It's probably one of my favorite kitchen tools; mostly because it was hers.

Use your pastry cutter (or you can use two knives) and cut the shortening into the flour and salt mixture. When you first get started, the shortening will flat out stick to the pastry cutter. Just slide it back off with your fingers and keep on truckin'!

You should end up with a mealy mixture like this:

When you cut the shortening into the flour and it becomes lots of tiny pieces, this is what makes pie crust flaky. Cool, huh?!

Next you're going to pour in the water and stir until it comes together. It won't come together perfectly, but you're going to knead it in a minute, so don't sweat it.

Dump the dough mixture onto a floured surface and start kneading it all together.  Pat it into a small round shape. Flour a rolling pin and start rolling! You want to make sure it's big enough to fit the pie plate. The dough will end up being between 1/8"-1/4". Don't worry if it's not perfectly round. You can fix that later! Transfer the pie crust to the pie plate and get it centered and fitted. Make sure the crust is fitted, so that every part of the inside of the pie plate is touching pie crust. Does that make sense? Basically, we're optimizing space for pie filling.

Once the crust is fitted, trim the edges so that there's not a lot of spill-over. if there's a spot where the crust is lacking, rip off a part of the crust where there's a lot of extra and press it into the naked spot. Press it in, like that's where it always belonged. No one will know!

There ya go! Okay, now what I do is fold over the slack to make a rim on the pie crust. Then I take a fork and press the fork into the pie crust to make a little bit of a design.

That's it! The pie crust is done! I know it was a long road. Luckily, the rest of the pie is easy breezy. All it consists of is measuring and dumping. Simple!

In a large mixing bowl, dump in the sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Whisk it all together and get ready to get crazy. (Note: When you're measuring the corn syrup, make sure you spray your measuring cup with non-stick spray. This will help the corn syrup slide ride out with minimal stickiness!)

Ready to make this pie a little more interesting? Let's do this.

Drag out your bottle of whiskey. Jack Daniels is my whiskey of choice, but you could use any type of whiskey or bourbon. If you feel the need to make yourself a little cocktail because you had so little whiskey left that you decided that it wasn't worth saving and it was, instead, worth drinking, then so be it. You have my approval. Drinking and baking can be a good thing!

Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of whiskey and stir it into your mixture. I used 3 tablespoons and I could really taste the whiskey. Use however much you want, or leave it out all together. This pie will be delicious no matter what!

Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans to the mixture. You could also use pecan halves, but I like using chopped because I feel like you get more pecan in each bite when they're chopped small. That makes sense, right? 

Pour the pie filling into the prepared pie crust. The little pecans will float to the top, so don't worry. I know it looks like a hot mess right now, but just you wait!

Whenever I'm baking a pie, I like to place the pie on a baking sheet that has been covered in foil. You never know what's going to happen in the oven and it's better to be safe than sorry. In this case, it's better to waste a piece of foil then to stand over the sink scrubbing bubbly, burnt caramel type substance off the baking sheet... or even worse- sitting in front of oven scrubbing the mentioned substance off the dirty oven floor.

Take my word for it. Bake the pie (and all future pies) on a baking sheet covered in foil. Trust me on this one.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. We're going to go ahead and cover the pie itself with foil for right now. This creates a little pocket of heat that will help the pie set up without overcooking the pecans or pie crust.

Once the pie has baked for 3o minutes, uncover the pie and bake for an additional 20 minutes. At this point, you should check the pie and see how jiggly it is. If it's still super jiggly, then cover the pie back up with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Check the pie again and if it's still overly jiggly, bake for another 5 minutes. I probably baked mine for an additional 15 minutes, but my oven is old and raggedy, so it really just depends. 

The pie shouldn't be overly jiggly. A little jiggle in the middle is alright. Just make sure that the pecans look brown and toasty, the crust is lightly brown and the filling is pretty sturdy. That's what we're going for. If the pecans and crust aren't brown enough, then bake it uncovered for a little longer. If the pecans and crust are brown, but there's still some jiggle, then bake it covered for a little longer.

Betcha didn't know someone could use the word "jiggle" so many times in one paragraph!

Once your pie is perfect, take that baby out and stare at her and all her glory.

The filling will look puffed up, but it will de-puff and smooth out. Let the pie come to room temperature before you cut yourself a slice. If you cut into this pie before it's at room temperature, you're going to regret it immediately. You might cry. I've learned this lesson the hard way.

If you really can't contain yourself, throw the pie in the fridge to speed up the "setting up" process. Then you'll be able to have a slice in half the time! 

I know that after you have one bite, you'll be hooked and on the pecan pie train! If you're looking for another outrageous pecan pie recipe, I made these last fall for our Thanksgiving potluck at work. They were the bomb.

Hope y'all enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment