Friday, November 16, 2012

How to Make the Best Holiday Pie

I have always wanted to be one of those ladies - the one who brings the perfect-looking pie to the barbecue or family gathering. Now, I feel like I have more of the skills I need to do just that. I recently received a beautiful cookbook and instruction book, "How to Build a Better Pie", by Millicent Suris. She is the self-taught expert in making pie crusts and preparing all the various fillings - everything from fruit to nuts to meats. 

In her book, I learned how to make the best crumble topping for pies, how to make a shortbread crust (yum!), and how to make the basic pie crust. I was excited to read this book to not only learn techniques, but to find unique recipes that I don't see in magazines or on web sites such as Suris did not disappoint! A few of the unique recipes in this book include Apricot Tomatillo Pie, Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie and Oyster and Sweetbreads Pie. 

The recipe from "How to Build a Better Pie" that  I would like to share with you is one that would be perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas: Bourbon Pecan Pie. Enjoy the recipe below, and to order the book for yourself or for a gift, visit:

Bourbon Pecan Pie 

Single Pie Crust (page 19), chilled

12 cup (112 g) unsalted melted butter
1 12 cups (165 g) coarsely chopped pecans,
the fresher the better, toasted
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
12 cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar
12 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
12 cup (170 g) light corn syrup
12 cup (170 g) dark corn syrup
14 cup (85 g) molasses (blackstrap)
14 cup (60 ml) bourbon—but not
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
12 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt

Prebake tools
aluminum foil
baking beans

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, gas mark 7).
Bottom Crust
Roll out your chilled pie crust to 18-inch (3 mm) thick.
It should be about 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter. Place
in your pie pan per the instructions in chapter 3. Trim
the edges so there is no more than 14 inch (6 mm) of
overhang. Lift and crimp the overhang along the rim
of the pie pan. Prick the bottom and the sides of the
crust with a regular fork to prevent bubbles. Try to not
pierce through the crust. If you can, chill your crust in
the freezer for at least 15 minutes. If not, chill it in the
refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. It is important for
the crust to be very cold and the fat to re-form and
firm up.

Pull your pie plate out of the refrigerator and place
your foil in it. It should sit flush with the plate, come up
along the rim, and fold down to cover the edges. This
foil protects the crust from overbrowning, but you do
not want the foil pressed securely to the edges. Place
your baking beans in the bottom and level them out.
Put the crust in the oven.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425°F (220°C, gas
mark 7). Then pull out the crust, lower your oven to
350°F (180°C, gas mark 4), and carefully lift the aluminum
foil by the edges off your crust with the beans in
it. Put your crust back in the oven for 10 minutes. Pull
and let cool a bit.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, gas mark 5).

Melt your butter and let cool. Arrange your nuts on
the bottom of the par-baked crust. Whisk together the
eggs until homogenized and add the white and brown
sugars, then the corn syrups, molasses, bourbon,
vanilla, melted butter, and salt. Pour the mixture over
the nuts and carefully transfer to the oven. The pecans
will float.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pie is set. A
little wiggle in the middle is all right; the pie will continue
cooking at it sits. Let cool at least 1 hour.

Yield: 1 pie (8 servings)

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