From the Chef: Sweet Bourbon Pecan Pie

By Mark Marques

Las Vegas Informer

I love the summer and this is the second anniversary of the Informer Family of publications. So I decided to do something rich and sweet and decadent for dessert in honor of the occasion! Nothing like the southern classic of Pecan Pie. I have amped this one up to be a Sweet Bourbon Pecan Pie. The Bourbon adds a touch of richness and a very profound flavor to this beautiful pie. If you are new to baking, this is very easy to do, and it will impress your family and your friends, as well as yourself! Have a little patience with the top of the pie and it will come out gorgeous for you every time! I hope you enjoy this dessert that will bring a smile to your face!

If you have any questions or need any advice with cooking or cooking tips, please contact me here at the Informer or at TheChefMark@GMail.com. Enjoy!

(As with all recipes, read through and have all ingredients ready.)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup light corn syrup (I like Karo)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 cups toasted pecan halves
  • ¼ cup Maker’s Mark or Bullitt Bourbon
  • 1 pie crust

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Follow Pie Crust Instructions (below) and blind bake the crust until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. (Leave the oven on.)

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter and vanilla. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then whisk into the corn syrup mixture.

Finely chop 1/2 cup pecans and spread evenly over the piecrust, then pour the filling into the crust. Arrange the remaining pecans, starting at the outer edge, in a circular design on top of filling, in a decorative pattern (see picture).

Bake the pie until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. I like serving it slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or with a nice cup of black coffee to help cut the richness.

Hints – 

  • To get the decorated leaves as seen on the picture, I used pie crust cutters that I purchased at Williams-Sonoma, but may be found at your local Target or Wal-Mart as well. Simple roll the remaining pie crust scraps out and cut the desired shape. I used leaves to match the sunflower center of the pecans on the pie.
  • I also brush an egg wash over the leaves to help make them shine after baking. Food should look good as well as taste good (egg wash – 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water).
  • I also covered the outer edge of the pie with some strips of foil to prevent over browning. Take of the strips for the last 15 minutes of baking to brown the edges.

Pie Crust:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening or Lard (it makes the best crusts.)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice cold water

Directions:

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse in short bursts until the butter is the size of peas.

With the machine running, slowly pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Hints –

  • When lining your pie plate, be sure there is enough dough in the bottom. Dough will shrink as it cooks. The crust needs to be placed loosely and enough of a rim needs to be on the edge of the pie plate to prevent shrinking or the crust may collapse into the pie plate. It is dough, do not be stingy.
  • Extra dough can be frozen and used for a later date if only a bottom crust is required.
  • Blind bake your crust if required. You do this by rolling your dough out into the pie plate. Decorate your edges as needed. Line with bottom of crust with foil or parchment paper and place Pie Weights (available in most cooking sections of department/ cooking stores) or use dried beans (do not re-use dried beans for anything else, especially cooking and eating). Blind baked crusts are usually done at 375 degree ovens for 10 minutes. However, follow your recipe as required.
  • If using both sides of a crust for a pie and there is excess dough left over, they make great cookies. Roll out dough and cut into shapes like wedges or strips, brush tops with milk and dust with cinnamon sugar and bake until crisp and golden brown. The strips can be twisted and then baked for a bit of flare.
  • Omit Sugar if this is for a Quiche or a savory filling is being used.

Mark Marques

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas. Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.

 

 

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