Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

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A friend from Georgia gifted me a bag of pecans from her backyard just before Christmas. My husband, a Texas native, is crazy for pecans. What better Christmas gift for him than a pecan pie? I made him one using maple syrup instead of corn syrup, with a touch of brown sugar and butter and a couple of tablespoons Jim Bean bourbon. It was just sweet enough, without being cloying like some pecan pies can be.

pecans and maple syrupIngredients:

2 Tb. salted butter, melted

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I used Trader Joe’s)

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tb bourbon (I used Jim Bean)

1/4 tsp sea salt

3 eggs at room temperature (you can soak them in warm water to warm them up)

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Directions:

Make a 9″ pie crust (bottom only).

Preheat oven to 350′ Place oven rack at lowest position.

Arrange pecans evenly on the crust.

Mix together brown sugar and melted butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Gently pour filling over pecans. Rearrange pecans so they are even on the crust. Cover pie edges with foil and a pie saver to prevent it from over-browning. Bake at 350′ for 45 minutes or so, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about an hour, until you can’t wait any longer.

slice of pecan pie with whipped cream

Serve topped with whipped cream sweetened with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and a teaspoon vanilla.

 

 

 

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Drunken Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

pieA pecan walks into a bar, orders a shot of Jim Beam and jumps into the glass. The bartender looks at it, shakes his head and says “You’re nuts.”

This has got to be the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted. It combines a pecan pie topping made from bourbon soaked pecans atop a creamy, spicy, sweet potato filling. I infuse the cooked yams with cinnamon sticks just after baking to give it an earthy cinnamon flavor. It’s lower in fat than most sweet potato pies and not overly sweet.

This recipe works best when the cook is singing along with Ray Charles and James Taylor’s  “Sweet Potato Pie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzZle2RDzTc

Ingredients:

drunken-pecans

FILLING

3 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as Garnet (also called yams)
6 thin cinnamon sticks
3 large eggs
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne

PECAN SOAK
3/4 cup raw pecans halves
3 Tb Jim Beam bourbon

PECAN TOPPING
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, put in just a pinch)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon                                                                                                                                      1 Tb heavy cream

Pour bourbon over pecans and let soak for 3 hours.

Make a single pie crust in a standard 9-inch pie pan or a tart pan and freeze it. Blind bake it just before filling.

Roast pierced sweet potatoes on a  foil-lined cookie sheet at 375° for about 1 ½ hours until very tender when pierced. Half-way through cooking time (45 minutes), turn the yams over.

cinnamon stick in yamI

Immediately after you pull them from the oven, pierce each end of the potatoes and insert a cinnamon stick lengthwise all the way through each end. Cover yams with foil and let cool. You can do this part a day before. Peel potatoes and remove cinnamon sticks. Purée the flesh in a food processor until smooth. Measure 2 cups.

Set oven to 350°. Beat eggs in a mixer until frothy. Pour pecan-infused bourbon from pecan soak into the eggs. Beat in remaining filling ingredients until well blended. The filling will be thick. Pour into a hot pre-baked 9″ pie crust and spread level. Use a pie crust protector or wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil  to prevent it from burning, and bake pie for 30 minutes.
caramelized-topping

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and heat to boiling. Let boil for just a minute, then turn off heat. Add cream and stir until smooth. Stir in pecans, coating them well with the caramel syrup..

pecans-coated-with-toppingStir in pecans,
Take the pie out of the oven and remove foil from pie crust. Make 2 concentric circles of pecans around the pie. Spoon extra caramel topping over the pecans.

ready for the oven

Continue to bake until center jiggles only slightly when shaken gently, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 2 hours.
Enjoy topped with maple-syrup sweetened whipped cream.