My best version so far for this old favorite has a different flavor for two reasons, the toasting of the pecans and maple syrup in place of the classic corn syrup.
Prebake a pie shell (recipe below under the pie recipe) for 5 to 7 minutes at 425 Farenheit.
Toast or roast shelled pecans in the oven until they smell good and are slightly darker than they were at the start. I give them about ten to twelve minutes in a metal pan at 300 Farenheit, stirring every so often. Cool completely.
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 c. maple syrup (can up this to 1 cup if you like)
3 – 4 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon good bourbon
1 cup of toasted pecans
Pour this mixture into the pre baked crust and bake for about 375 Farenheit .
Pie Crust for two pies– because if you are going to make pies you should be serious about it and not bake just one at a time!
Take about a third of a cup of water and toss in an ice cube or two plus a good squeeze of lemon juice to acidify the liquid. This will increase tenderness in the final result as does the addition of a bit of sugar to the crust dry ingredients.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Combine the above then cut in:
1/3 cup butter, very cold (you can use a food processor, but understand that your crust while tender, will be mealy not flaky)
Toss in and mix:
1/3 cup grape seed, corn or canola oil
Now take this and toss in approximately 1/3 or less of the chilled lemon juice and water until you can very lightly feel that the crust is barely pulling together. Handle lightly — you do not want to activate the gluten in the flour nor do you want your hands to melt the butter. You should not need to add any flour which would also toughen your result. However rough and ragged the dough looks, you need just enough integrity in this pastry that you can now roll out your crust. Again, a light touch; roll from the center out so you aren’t overworking. I love the King Arthur pastry rolling bag–it has a zipper so you keep the mess contained and you can wash it like a dish afterwards.
And yes, I am not making one pie alone. I have at least three in mind and might add a fourth if the fortunes smile. Just picked the apples today, mashed the steamed pumpkin last night… so you see where we’re going. Quite traditional, to be shared with the crowd of friends and students that will join us at our table tomorrow, after the sun goes down.