Pecan and maple pie

2015-07-28 13.30.50 (683x1024)The American Thanksgiving holiday coming up this week is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 when the pilgrims invited the Native Americans to celebrate their first harvest.

For the Thanksgiving holiday families come together to celebrate and feast on a meal of local foods, typically roast turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, green beans, sweetcorn, and for dessert pies such as pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie which I offer for you here.

Photography by Jeffrey Chan.

 

Pecan and maple pie

Pecan pie is best made the day before you need it as this will allow time for the flavours to mingle and develop. Reheat the pecan pie in a low oven 120C for 15 minutes to warm through for serving.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 blind-baked pastry crust (see shortcrust pastry recipe following)
  • 250g (2 cups) pecan halves
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed (125g) soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 free-range eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method

  1. Set aside some pecan halves to decorate the top of the pie if you wish. Chop the remaining pecans fairly roughly and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Before you are going to fill the piecrust, warm it for five minutes first in the oven. This will help keep the crust crisp when it is filled and baked.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and salt together in a bowl until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating in each, and then beat in the maple syrup and vanilla. Tip the pecans into the piecrust and spread evenly over the base. Pour the maple and egg filling over the pecans. Decorate the top if you wish with pecan halves. Bake the pecan pie for about 45 minutes or until set.
  4. Cool the pie on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice-cream. Pecan pie is very sweet, so I like to add a dollop of low-fat plain yoghurt to the cream to lighten it and add a sour note.

Shortcrust pastry crust for pecan pie

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour (can be one third wholemeal flour)
  • grated nutmeg or 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • sea salt
  • 110g cold butter cut into cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp iced water

Method

  1. You need a 23cm pie dish for the pie crust.
  2. Place the flour, salt, nutmeg or cinnamon in a food processor and add the cold cubed butter. Process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Now, with the motor running, pour in (through the shoot) enough iced water to bring the pastry together into a ball. (Alternatively the pastry can be made by the traditional method in a bowl and mixed with the fingertips.)
  3. Tip the dough out onto a floured work bench and knead a couple of times. Press the pastry into a disc about 1.5 to 2mm thick, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or longer.
  4. Sprinkle the rolling pin and work surface with flour. Roll the disc of pastry out into a circular shape about 3mm thick and a little larger than the pie dish. Loosely roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully unroll over the pie dish. Press it into the corners with your fingers. Leave some pastry overhanging the dish and trim the surplus away, leaving about 13mm. Fold this overhanging pastry under and crimp the edge with your thumb and fingers (see photo) or the tines of a fork. Prick holes in the base with a fork.
  5. Line the pastry case with foil and fill with dried beans. This technique called blind-baking will stop the pastry puffing up and ensure a crisp base. Chill for at least 15 minutes if you can or freeze until needed.
  6. Heat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Bake the chilled or frozen pastry shell for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for another five minutes.

 

 

 

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