I should have known when I handed Pete copies of the two books by the 'Baked' duo and asked him to choose his birthday cake that it wouldn't end up the way I had planned. I was hoping that he'd go for the grasshopper or chocolate malt ball layer cakes, but it only took him about a minute to hand the book back pointing at page 97 with an 'I want that one' expression on his face. My response - "Well that's not a cake but if that's what you really want for your birthday...". I couldn't exactly say no could I?
As usual the thing Pete most desired required one of the few kitchen items I didn't have so an emergency shopping trip ensued for a correctly sized pie pan and a giant bag of pecan nuts. That's where my griping ends however because I really liked making this recipe - baking up a pie makes me feel incredibly housewifey. I can imagine myself in a little wooden house in Texas whipping up pastry in a gingham clad kitchen, leaving the finished pie to cool on the window sill. Yes I am ridiculous, and I love it.
The pastry recipe was perfect coming together perfectly with the exact liquid amount stated and giving a smooth, easily rollable texture that didn't tear at all. The filling was very easy to prepare too. Please remember that the pastry needs to chill for an hour in the fridge before you roll it and line the pie dish and then needs to freeze for at least 3 hours before you add te filling and bake - I made, chilled, rolled it and then popped it into the freezer and then went to do my chores in town so when I got back I was ready to fill and bake it.
I agree with the lovely Baked boys that you should be generous with the bourbon - I used Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select which you can buy in most supermarkets now. It costs more than your standard bourbon but it's worth it - Pete likes bourbon straight up and the cheaper ones just aren't that nice that way. Unless you're exceedingly rock n roll of course, but we both drink for the taste not for the side affects!
Serve this pie at room temperature with a good quality vanilla ice cream at a dinner party or sat on the sofa while watching something appropriate like Boardwalk Empire and drift off into a time gone by where dinner parties were daily, men had impressive moustaches and ladies were only happy if they looked picture perfect. Can I go back there please?
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
Taken from 'Baked : New Frontiers in Baking' by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Pie Dough Ingredients
200g plain flour
1.5 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
125g unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1cm cubes
100ml ice cold water
250g pecan halves, toasted in a 200 C / 400 F oven for 10 minutes
3 large eggs
180ml golden syrup or runny honey (or light corn syrup if you can get it)
4 tbsp dark brown sugar (packed into the spoon)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
pinch of fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp bourbon
200g dark chocolate in chips or chunks (or a half and half mix of dark and milk if you prefer)
Pie Dough Method
In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt and then add the butter cubes and toss to coat them. Pour into a food processor and give it a few pulses until the butter is in little pieces about the size of a hazelnut. Now drizzle in the ice cold water through the feed tube while pulsing the machine until it comes together as a ball - keep your eye on it as you may not need all the water.
As soon as this happens remove the dough from the processor, give it a very quick few kneads and then flatten into a disc and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour and a maximum of 3 days.
When chilled remove from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface to about a 12" round. Drape over the pie dish and gently work it in folding any overhanging pastry under before crimping the edge. Wrap in cling film and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours (maximum 3 months) before filling and baking.
Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F then take 100g of the toasted pecans and chop roughly before setting aside.
Lighlty whisk the eggs in a large bowl until just combined and then add the syrup/honey, sugars, melter butter, salt, vanilla and bourbon. Whisk again until combined and then stir in the chopped pecans.
Remove your frozen pie shell from the oven and evenly sprinkle in the chocolate chunks. Pour over the filling and then top with the remaining pecan halves.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, then remove and cover the pie edges with tin foil before returning to the oven for another 30 minutes. Test to see if the pie is done by inserting a knife into its centre - if it comes out clean it is done, if it comes out with clumps of filling stuck to it you need to bake for another 5 minutes and then test again.
Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature. This pie can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.