Anyone who knows me will know that it is no surprise but I have been claiming responsibility for family’s holiday desserts for quite a while. In fact, I’m pretty sure I convinced my mom that I could be responsible for some of them starting in middle school. By high school I was taking over most of the desserts and by college and beyond it has been game over for anyone else wanting to take charge of a holiday dessert. Sorry family!
So as the holidays are quickly approaching, I have been already been thinking about what treats everyone will enjoy and also trying to figure out if there is anything I can do ahead of time to save some time. One thing that I know that I will be doing is making my cookie dough for turkey cookies before we go. I’ll roll it out and freezing it in thin sheets so that I can pull it right out of the freezer and cut it into fun shapes with all my little helpers when I am in St. Louis. Something else that I tried this year too is making my pecan pie ahead of time. I’ve been reading everywhere that pecan pie freezes beautifully. So I made our pie ahead of time!
This pie filling is sooooooooooo good! I used the pecan pie recipe from one of my favorite places – Smitten Kitchen. The secret is in the golden syrup. It is sweet like corn syrup but with a more complex and slightly salty flavor. You can order it on amazon, buy it at World Market or other international grocery stores. Then you throw in a little apple cider vinegar for brightness and a splash of bourbon to round out the flavor and I could seriously drink the filling before it is baked….problems….I know.
The crust is from another place – Preppy Kitchen. I’ve made the Smitten Kitchen crust before and it was yummy, but not my favorite. I thought about the other two pie crusts that I sampled on the blog before too, and then decided that I wanted to try something different, because sometimes I am a glutton for punishment. Let me just say, this crust is super yummy. It is a nice rich all butter, a little sweet, a little salty and nice and crisp! I baked a little extra to see how it would turn out and I loved it! It was almost like a nice thing short crust cookie. I can’t wait to try these together.
Lets start with the crust:
In the base of my food processor I placed 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour. Then I added 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. I let the machine pulse several times to mix the dry ingredients. Then I added 1 cup of cubed frozen butter to the machine and pulses several times until the butter was the size of peas. Then while the machine pulsed, I added 1/4 cup of ice water and 2 tablespoons of vodka to the dough. As you can see, when everything is mixed it, the dough will not be a cohesive dough yet.
Next, the dough is dumped onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and using the sides of the plastic wrap, fold them over several times to bring the ingredients together and gently kneed it until it just comes together into a cohesive dough. Then wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
After the dough has a chance to rest, preheat the oven to 425 F degrees. Then pull the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and place it on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and top it with another piece of parchment paper and roll it as thin as possible between the two sheets. To transfer the dough, make sure it has a thin layer of flour on it and fold it into quarters. Then place that on the pie pan and unfold the dough. Gently pick up the edges of the dough and let gravity pull the dough down into the pie pan. You want to try to avoid stretching the dough at this stage, to try to keep it from shrinking later. Then trim the extra dough from the edge of the pie pan.
Fold the edges of the pie crust under the top and use your fingers and thumb to crimp the edge of the pie. You could also do any other design you would like on the edge of the pie crust. Wrap the crust in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes to rest and to give the butter a chance to firm back up before the first blind bake of the crust.
Before putting the pie crust in the oven, place a piece of parchment paper over the top of it and fill it as high as possible with pie weights, beans, rice or sugar. I went with a combination of pie weights and beans to fill my crust. This helps the crust bake with without shrinking or bubbling. Bake the crust for 10 minutes with the weights in it. Then pull the crust from the oven and very, very, very carefully remove the weights from the crust. Dock the entire crust (poke it with a fork), bottom and sides, and then place it back in the oven for 5 minutes to finish drying out.
The star of the show – the filling:
Change the heat of the oven to 350 F degrees.
Place 2 cups of pecan halves on a lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until you begin to smell them and they turn a shade or two darker. This is so important when baking with nuts, it helps to improve the texture by making them crunchier. It also deepens their flavor and makes them a little more complex.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, I placed 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar, 6 tablespoons of butter, 3/4 cup of golden syrup and a small pinch of kosher salt. I heated this over medium heat until everything melted and came together, then I let it simmer and bubble for 1 minute.
After the 1 minute, I pulled the mixture from the heat and poured it into another bowl to help it begin cooling down. After 2 or 3 minutes, I added 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste (because I was out of vanilla), and 2 tablespoons of bourbon to the mixture and mixed in well. Then I added the toasted pecans to the mixture as well.
I mixed the pecans into the filling and continued to check the temperature and mix the bowl periodically. I waited about 15 minutes until the bowl was not longer hot to the touch and the middle of the filling was also still warm but not hot. I added the 3 eggs to the filling and mixed it well to make sure everything came together.
I poured the filling into the crust and placed my homemade foil shield onto the edge of the pie and put it into the 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes. Then I removed the foil shield and let the pie finish baking for 10-15 minutes. I checked for the doneness of the pie by noticing that the pie was puffed up, the center was slightly firm to the touch but still had a little jiggle to it when I shook the pan slightly.
I let the pie cool completely for several hours in the pan on a cooling rack. Then I wrapped it up in 2 layers of foil before I placed it into a ziplock bag and put it in my freezer. This is seriously the hardest part. I didn’t get to try this pie yet! I know that it will be amazing in a few weeks when everyone is gathered together, but until then it will rest in the freezer. On thanksgiving, my plan is to put the pie in the fridge the night before to thaw and then place it in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 F degrees with my super cool crush shield on again to warm it up.
- I hope you are working on knocking out some of your holiday baking ahead of time. Your freezer is seriously your best friend when it comes to holiday baking.
- I cannot wait to try this pie! I LOVE pecan pie! The delicious custardy, sweet, interior studded with toasted pecans is the stuff of legends – the golden syrup in this one along with the bourbon …. it is to die for!!
- This pie always makes me think of my mom. It is one of her favorite pies, anytime I am thinking about switching up the menu – she is always there going – “and pecan pie???” I love it!
Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Pie
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup frozen butter cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup golden syrup
- A pinch of kosher salt
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
For the Crust
- In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add the water and vodka while the food processor is pulsing and everything is combined.
- Dump the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and kneed the dough just until it is cohesive. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees.
- Dust the dough with flour and roll the dough out as thin as possible. Transfer to the pie pan and trim the extras. Fold the crust under and crimp the crust. Wrap the crust in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes.
- Line the pie crust with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights, dock the dough all over and bake for 5 more minutes.
- Cool the crust
For the Filling:
- Heat the oven to 350 F degrees.
- Place the pecans on a lined baking sheet and toast for 10 – 12 minutes or until fragrant.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine brown sugar, butter, salt and golden syrup. Heat on medium and stir until combined. Simmer for 1 – 2 minutes and then remove from heat and pour in a bowl to begin cooling.
- After 2 -3 minutes add the apple cider vinegar, vanilla and bourbon and mix. Add the pecans and mix. Keep stirring until the mixture is no longer hot to the touch. Add the eggs and stir to combine.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and top the edge of the crust with a foil shield. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the shield and finish baking for 10 – 15 minutes or until the filling is puffed up and slightly firm to the touch but still jiggly.
- Cool and enjoy or wrap with foil and freeze until needed.
- Thaw over night in the fridge if frozen, cover with a foil shield and warm up for 20 minutes in a 350 F oven.
Adapted from Preppy Kitchen and Smitten Kitchen
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