Food & Drink

Maple Pecan Pie with Spiked Whipped Cream

Pee-can or puh-kahn. No matter how you pronounce it,  a good ol’ fashioned pecan pie will drive your taste-buds nuts. In my humble opinion, it is the mother of all pies and the quintessential holiday dessert. The delicious combination of buttery crisp crust loaded with rich custard filling and crunchy caramelised nuts is almost too good to be true. If you want to impress your friends and family this holiday season, this all-American dessert is the way to go!
 
A great pecan pie always starts with an extra flaky pie crust. A lot of people are intimidated by making a pie from scratch, but I am here to tell you it’s quite literally easy as pie. All you need is a food processor, flour, butter, salt and a dash of water. While you can buy shortcrust pastry dough from your local supermarket, the reality is it will never taste as good as when you make it yourself. I recommend preparing the pie crust one or two days ahead of time and refrigerating it so it’s ready to go when you want to bake it.
 
When it comes to your caramelised filling there are a  number of ways to sweeten it. In this recipe I have substituted the traditional glucose syrup with maple syrup and honey. This creates a deep, rich flavour that is more complex and sophisticated than your traditional pie filling. I have also added an optional tablespoon of bourbon which enhances the caramel notes of the pie and gives the dessert a unique kick.  Since pecan pie is made with so few ingredients it is imperative to use high quality nuts, honey and syrup. You will really taste the flavours come through if you do. Finally, finish it off with some bourbon-spiked whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream and you have created heaven in a dessert. With the delightful combination of crunchy and smooth textures, it’s impossible to go wrong with pecan pie!

- Rey Vakili

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Ingredients

Crust

1 ¼ cups plain flour 
¼ teaspoon salt
140 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3-4 tablespoons ice water
 
Filling
120 g unsalted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup high quality honey
3 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of salt
200 g pecan halves
Flaky Sea Salt to finish
 
Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean pod
1 tablespoon bourbon
 
24cm tart tin or pie dish


Method

The Pie Crust
  1. First prepare your crust. Add flour, salt and butter to food processer. Pulse three or four times until the butter breaks up and mixture forms large crumbly pieces.
  2. Slowly add ice water one tablespoon at a time. Pulse two or three times with each tablespoon addition of water. Dough will start to come together after the third or fourth tablespoon. Mixture will be moist and crumbly but not wet.
  3. Tip mixture onto your working surface and knead into a ball. Flatten slightly, wrap with glad wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to chill. You can leave in fridge for up to two days so feel free to prep this step in advance!
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Preparing the Pie
  1. When ready to prepare you pie, lightly flour your working surface. Remove dough from wrap and roll into a large circle the will cover the base and edges of your tart tin. (it should be about half a centimetre thick)
  2. Lay crust over tin and press edges into the tin. You can use your fingers to press over the edge of the tin and cut of any excess dough. Transfer crust to freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes while you prepare your filling.
  3. Meanwhile place a baking sheet large enough to fit the tin in the oven and preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  4. Now begin the filling. In a small saucepan melt butter on medium heat. We want to brown our butter. It will fizz and make a lot of noise at first and then quieten down. When the fizzing stops (after about 5 minutes) your butter will turn a dark gold with brown flecks in it. It should smell nutty and delicious. Add maple syrup and continue to cook and stir. Allow the moisture to burn out. The mixture will reduce and thicken slightly (after about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in honey. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. While the mixture cools remove the pie crust from the freezer and line the base with pecans till it is entirely covered.
  6. In a large mixing bowl add brown sugar, salt, vanilla, bourbon and eggs and whisk together. Slowly add the cooled syrup mixture to the bowl and continue to whisk. Be sure to scrape in all the delicious brown flecks. Pour the filling over the pecans. The nuts should float to the top.
  7. Place tin on the baking sheet and reduce heat to 200 degrees Celsius. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce again to 175 degree Celsius. Continue to bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
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Spiked Whipped Cream
  1. While the pie is cooling you can prepare your spiked whipped cream. Add one cup of heavy cream to a large mixing bowl. Sift in ¼ cup of icing sugar and add the seeds from one vanilla bean pod. Beat until peaks start to form. Add 2 teaspoons of bourbon and continue to beat till blended through.
  2. Serve with a generous dollop of cream!

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