If you’re going to tamper with tradition, make sure the results are worth it. Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie definitely is that!
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 (like 4 Roses or Widow Jane)…need I say more? This is Scotch & Scones after all…if I can bake with liquor, I will!
Variations on a theme
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!
I’m really proud of the way this pie turned out. Being able to use the dough scraps to make leaves (and cover the cracks in the crust) really added to the festive touch.
I’m not alone in tweaking tradition
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!
Black Bottom Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
- pie pan
- 1 single pie crust (homemade or store bought), see Recipe Notes
- 3-4 oz dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa, but I use 72%), melted
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (8-1/4 oz, 234g)
- 1/4 cup bourbon (2 oz, 56g)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar (6-1/4 oz, 180g)
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted, plus 1/2 tsp. salt if using unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecans (8 oz, 227g), or enough to "pack" the pie pan
- 1 large egg, beaten + 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
- 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.