The first pie in the parade is pecan. This pie screams Thanksgiving to me, even more than pumpkin pie. Growing up, I remember there always being a pecan pie on the Thanksgiving dessert table. It was probably especially popular in kosher households because it’s an easy pie to make pareve, or non-dairy, so you can eat it after a feast that includes meat.
It was always one of my favorites because it was nutty and not very very sweet. I think it was probably my introduction to pecans as well (a word, incidentally, that I have extreme trouble saying correctly or consistently to this day – is it puh-kahn, pee-can, pee-kahn? My mouth can never decide in time).
Pecan pie is also one of the easiest pies to make. You can arrange each nut so that they make a beautiful design, or you can dump the nuts in, as I tend to do. You can crimp the edges of the pie crust fancily, or you can leave torn dough edges for a rustic look. That’s about as complicated as it gets.
The recipe I’ve been using for the last few years kicks it up a notch by adding bourbon, which fits amazingly well with the flavor of the toasted nuts and the syrup. I use a lot because I want to be able to taste it, but you can adjust the amount or skip it entirely to suit your taste and the group who will be eating it. It is delicious but not integral. The original recipe that I got this one from also calls for chocolate chips, which I found wholly unnecessary for a pie that already has plenty of sweetness on its own.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Paula Deen’s Chocolate Pecan Pie
- 1 unbaked pie dough
- 2 1/2 cups pecan halves
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp margarine or butter, melted
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-4 tbsp bourbon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lay rolled out pie dough into a butter or shortening-greased 9-inch round plate. Clean off the edge Use a fork to poke ventilation holes all around the bottom and sides of the dough.
- Fill the pie crust with pecans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, sugar and bourbon. When all the ingredients are combined, pour the syrup into the pie shell over the pecans. Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any potential overflow.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...