It’s Pi Day!

In the spirit of Pi Day, I wanted to share a family recipe for a baking staple from the land of pecans. This pecan pie is part of my Georgia heritage, but when I moved to Tennessee, I started substituting bourbon for the vanilla (and, neighboring Kentuckians added the chocolate chips and renamed it, aptly, Derby Pie) . When I relocated to Vermont, I included maple syrup with the bourbon. With each move it, just kept getting better. Now, that I am settled in New Hampshire, I think it’ s time  to put it all down on paper and share- so, here it is…

Pie Crust 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp of salt

10 TBS unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2-4 TBS ice water

To make the crust, in a food processor, briefly pulse together the four and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms pebble sized pieces that barely stick together.

Add ice water 1 TBS at a time, and pulse until the mixture is just list enough to hold together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic, and flatten into a disc with your hand. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out and baking ( yo can also refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to 3 months). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the piecrust to a 12 inch circle. Transfer the crust to a 9 inch pie plate. Fold over any excess, then crimp with a fork and prick the crust all over with a fork.

Freeze the crust for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 400º. Cover the piecrust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling. 

Maple Pecan Pie

1 cup Karo Dark Corn Syrup

3 eggs, slightly beaten (@ room temp)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp melted butter

1/2 tsp bourbon (optional)

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans ( save a few whole pecans for decorating)

Stir Karo Syrup , eggs, maple syrup, (bourbon), and butter together until mixed. Add chopped pecans. Pour into piecrust and bake for 45-50 minutes or until pie is slightly firm but not hard.

Garnish with whipped cream (you can add a touch of bourbon or coffee to the whipped cream) and chocolate shavings.

Derby Pie

  • same as above but add 1/2 cup pf semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips to the mixture.

The first thing to remember is to use quality ingredients. I recommend all purpose flour from King Arthur Flour, Kate’s unsalted butter, local VT or NH maple syrup and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips ( if you make the Derby pie version). All the ingredients can easily be purchased at the Co-op Food store or most major grocery stores in our area. Next, be sure to make your crust ahead and refrigerate it before you roll it out. This helps the crust maintain it’s flaky texture. Since the crust is pre-baked a bit before pouring the filling in, you may have to watch the edges and cover them with foil if they start to get too brown for your taste.

And, I recommend using a heavy whipping cream and making your whipped cream from scratch. Feel free to be inventive here! I sometimes add a tsp or two of strong coffee to the whipped cream, or grated dark chocolate, or pureed raspberries. All make a  festive topping to the warm pie. And, do serve it warm if you can.

Happy Pi Day!

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