I mentioned before that I’d be coming out with a few pie recipes this season and I finally got one I feel confident publishing.
There was a time years ago, when I was in college, when I tried to learn how to make pie and used pecan pie as the test. I always seemed to get only one thing right, and it was always a different thing, but I could never get the whole thing to come together. Either I’d substitute thing recklessly and the filling would turn out funky, or the crust would burn, or the crust would hardly bake at all. Those are essentially the three aspects of a pie that you have to nail: the filling cooks and holds up, the edges of the crust don’t burn, and the bottom actually bakes completely.
Back then, I thought all hope was lost. I held off on pies for at least a few years and as soon as I moved home this past summer, I hit the ground running with dough all over my hands. You can see the first fruits of my efforts here (buttery pie crust recipe.) I wanted to practice different types of fillings and really get the measurements right before publishing any more, so after at least half a dozen pecan pies (and pumpkin pies, and chocolate tarts, and apple pies), here’s the boozy and succulent pecan pie.
I also had an epiphany recently. In order to save my family from carb-excess, I’d been using small 4.5-inch tart pans to test recipes, then calculating measurements for larger tarts based on those attempts. I figured since 4.5 is half of 9, then one 9-inch tart recipe must make two 4.5-inch tarts, right?
Wrong. While testing pecan pie recipes, I made two half recipes, thinking I could do two 4.5-inch tarts, and wound up with enough for four tarts. Whaaaat? In middle and high school, I was two years advanced in math, and apparently I had forgotten every thing in college: if you have two squares, one is 6 inches on each side and the other is 3 inches, then how many of the smaller squares fit into the larger?
Four. Because the area of a 6-inch square is 9 inches and the area of a 3-inch square is 2.25 inches.
Therefore, one 9-inch tart recipes makes four 4.5-inch tarts (and, coincidentally, two 6-inch tarts.)
I prefer to make medium (7-inch) pies, to save money and ingredients and because I like to test a lot of recipes. I figure more numerous pies, all smaller, means more variety and less guilt (I mean other people’s guilt…I have none of my own.)
boozy dark rum pecan pie
makes one 7-inch tart (with 9-inch measurements in parentheses.)
3 Tbsp butter (4 1/2 Tbsp)
90 g maple syrup (135 g)
135 g brown sugar (200 g)
1 Tbsp dark rum (4 1/2 tsp)
2 eggs (3 eggs)
hefty pinch of salt (a heftier pinch)
1 Tbsp cornstarch (4 1/2 tsp)
75 g pecans (114 g)
Roll out your chilled pie crust so that it’s about 2 inches wider than the rim of the pan. Transfer dough to pan, fold edges under and crimp, and prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour, or in the freezer overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
make the filling
In a pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
When melted, stir in maple syrup, rum, and sugar, and mix fully.
Remove from the stove and let cool before adding the eggs.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the cornstarch and salt, and fold in the pecans.
Fill the unbaked pie shell with the pecan filling and bake for 45 – 60 minutes until the edges are starting to brown and the filling is bubbling up.
The filling will deflate when the pie cools.
Serve with a side of shots of dark rum but try not to drink them before you eat the pie like I did.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?