I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! It’s hard to believe it’s January already! I have several recipes from the last few weeks that I am dying to share and am going to start with one divine desert! I have been intimidated by pecan pie for quite some time. I’ve not always been a fan because oftentimes the taste is off and I think I figured it out – corn syrup! This recipe calls for pure Vermont maple syrup instead. It makes it quite a pricey pie but trust me, for special occasions this is a beauty!
Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie, recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma
- 1 rolled-out round of basic pie dough
- 2 cups pure maple syrup, Grade B*
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- a healthy splash (ok, a shot) of Bourbon – we used Old Granddad because it was in the liquor cabinet at my in-laws, not sure they actually make that anymore but age matters in bourbon right? It sure tasted good!
* A great note about syrup courtesy of WS: Pure maple syrup, made from the boiled sap of the sugar maple tree, comes in three grades. Grade A Light or Fancy syrup, sometimes called Grade AA, is clear gold and has a wonderfully subtle flavor, but its delicate character does not hold up in cooking. Grade B syrup is produced only in Vermont and has more maple flavor than Grade A. Sometimes called “baking” or “cooking” maple syrup, it is ideal for use in this recipe. Grade C has a robust, molasses-like flavor and is used primarily in making commercial table syrups.
Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. If you’re going to use rice, use a lot of it! I did not and my crust was very puffy. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8 to 10 minutes to reduce. Make sure to watch the pan as this can get really big, really fast! Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.
In a bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter, vanilla, and bourbon until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.
Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until just slightly warm, about 1 1/2 hours, before serving. This step is very important, the syrups need time to gel and harden. I didn’t wait long enough on Christmas so we ate soupy pie, delicious pie but a bit soupy! Not my best presentation!