It’s a tradition
It’s the prime time for Fall…the leaves here in New England are beautiful, and this California-girl-turned-Bostonian will not miss a chance to enjoy the colors to the fullest. In fact, it’s become sort of a tradition for my husband and I to head to northern New Hampshire to go “leaf peeping” (along with half the population of the state, it seems). I like traditions…they’re comforting like a warm blanket and Hot Chocolate on a rainy day. Some traditions are sacrosanct…there must be Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Bread at Thanksgiving or things will get ugly. Others can be more flexible, like having a baking post instead of a scotch review (yes, I’ve messed up my alternating pattern that, up to now, I’ve followed unfailingly…don’t judge). Altering well-loved recipes can be tampering with tradition, but how else can new versions of a classic come about? Take for instance the aforementioned Pecan Pie…can we make it differently, and (dare I say it) better? You bet! Friends, I give you Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie!
(Whoa…that’s a mouthful!)
No kidding! This recipe has so many tweaks that it’s almost kinked (but in a good way). First, I replaced the expected corn syrup (which only adds sweetness but no flavor) with maple syrup (which offers both). Next, I ditched the white sugar for more of the caramel-goodness that brown sugar provides. A layer of melted dark chocolate on the crust gave a delightful surprise and cut the cloying sweetness a bit. Lastly, bourbon…need I say more? This is Scotch & Scones after all…if I can bake with liquor, I will!
I’ve used a version of this recipe for my Pecan Bars (minus the melted chocolate). The recipe was adapted from the Maple-Pecan Pie recipe found on Epicurious. And for purists, Epicurious also has the classic Pecan Pie recipe from Karo, the company that makes the corn syrup generally found in US markets. But if you’re ready to play with tradition a bit (and I hope you are), let’s get to the recipe!
Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Maple-Pecan Pie from Epicurious
- 1 Single Pie Crust
- 3-4 oz melted dark chocolate, at least 65% cocoa, but I use 72% (for bottom of pie crust)
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon (something good quality, like 4 Roses or Widow Jane)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (180g) brown sugar (light is fine, but dark is better)
- 4 Tbsp butter (plus 1/2 tsp. salt if using unsalted butter), melted
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecans (or enough to “pack” the pie pan)
- Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten plus 1 Tbsp water (for brushing pie crust edges)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Rollout pie crust and ease into pie pan. Trim edges, creating decorative cutouts with trimmings if desired. Add decorative crimping or press with a fork to edge. Chill crust and decorative pieces in the freezer 10 minutes.
- Spread melted chocolate over bottom of crust, then chill an additional 10 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
- While crust is chilling, whisk the filling ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
- Add pecans to chilled crust (as many as can fit, then pour filling over all. Add the decorative crust pieces if desired. Brush edges and decorative pieces with egg wash.
- Bake until filling is set and slightly puffed, about 1 hour, checking after 45-50 minutes to avoid over-browning the pecans. If edges are browning too quickly, cover with foil or a pie shield after 30 minutes.
- Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Don’t worry if the filling has cracked a bit as it puffs up…it will subside when cooled.
- You only need about 1/2 the filling to make 4 mini pies
- You don’t have to have melted chocolate in the pie (the “black bottom” in the title), but really, why not?
- You can substitute Apple Brandy or Apple Cider for bourbon
- You can use a store-made pie shell (either regular or deep dish), but really, making your own is so much better! Don’t shy away…my Easy as Pie (Day) post will give you all the details on how to make a masterful pie crust!
I’m, of course, not the only one who has played with the classic Pecan Pie recipe. Two of my favorite food bloggers, Sally’s Baking Addiction and Smitten Kitchen, both have their own versions, as do many others (the latter’s cleverly uses Lyle’s Golden Syrup in hers, which I used for making Sticky Toffee Pudding). Bakers throughout time have been altering recipes…how else are new recipes created? In my family, Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie has become my customary contribution to Thanksgiving…nay, it’s a tradition!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!