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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving: The Pie

OK, OK, OK. Alright already, sheesh.

Maple-Pecan Pie

Shell:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, and some for dusting (I like King Arthur, but Pillsbury Unbleached is good also)
2 generous Tbsp. sugar
2 fat pinches of salt
1¼ sticks of butter (8+2 Tbsp.) sliced into as many pats as your patience allows. If you are REALLY hardcore, you can replace the ¼ stick w. 2 Tbsp. lard. Either way after cutting the fats small, chill again.
1 egg, separated (beat the white lightly w. enough ice water to make ¼cup; beat the yolk with ¼tsp. of water to make an egg wash)

Put sugar and salt into food processor and whiz until powdered. Add flour and pulse. Add butter (and lard...but avoid anything hydrogenated) and pulse until it looks like a coarse cornmeal, about 10-15 seconds. Mix in egg white (be VERY careful if you use the food processor, you can end up w. some tough crust...if you are unsure, dump everything into a bowl and use a spatula) until you get a dough. Flatten dough into a rough disk, dust with flour and chill at least an hour.

Roll out dough on a floured surface until you end up with a 13" circle. CAREFULLY drape over a 9" pie plate (I like those glass Pyrex ones), but a nonstick tart pan works also. Trim the edges even and then flute the edges as you see fit (forks, your kids' fingerprints...whatever). Freeze the raw shell for an hour. Take out enough foil to cover the shell completely and poke it (the shell) all over with a fork. Take out shell and poke THAT also. Wrap and put back in freezer while you preheat oven to 400F. Take out shell and put pie weights over the foil (I use large steel BBs). Bake in the center rack for about 15 minutes, remove foil bake an additional ten, glaze with the egg wash and bake off for one more minute until it's all golden and pretty. Keep warm.

Filling

½ stick of butter cut into 1" chunks
½ cup sugar (superfine is ideal, but regular works fine)
¼ tsp. salt (if you use a coarse salt, make sure you get it down to a fine grain)
3 eggs (large)
1 cup maple syrup (I like the Grade B from Vermont Sugarworks, but you can use Grade A amber...make sure you are using 100% pure maple syrup, not some "pancake syrup" dreck.)
6 oz (about a cup-and-a-half) pecans, crushed coarsely

Preheat oven to 275F. Over a double boiler melt butter; remove the top vessel and then stir in sugar and salt. Beat in eggs fully and THEN beat in syrup. Return to double boiler configuration and stir briskly until the whole thing is nice and glossy. Remove again and stir in pecan bits. Pour into shell and bake about 55 minutes, until the center jiggles S-L-I-G-H-T-L-Y. Remove and cool completely.

This pie is the perfect balance between firm and lush with a yielding -- but not squishy -- texture. Above all else, there is none of that vile corn syrup.

-J.

4 Comments:

  • At 6:24 PM, November 26, 2008 , Blogger Shan said...

    Any chance of step-by-step photos, Joe? I couldn't quite follow the process with the foil and the holes (holes in the foil or in the casing?)

    Sounds delicious. I taught myself how to bake pecan pie last year (I only tried pecan pie for the first time in March 07 - it's not common Downunder.) I ended up baking three for Christmas lunch. Most of my family, having never heard of pecan pie, were reluctant to try it so I enjoyed very sweet leftovers... Bliss!

     
  • At 6:46 PM, November 26, 2008 , Blogger Joe said...

    I will endeavo(u)r to do so.

    -J.

     
  • At 6:47 PM, November 26, 2008 , Blogger Joe said...

    P.S. If it's any consolation, we have no idea what on Earth a "Pavlova" is.

     
  • At 7:06 PM, November 26, 2008 , Blogger Shan said...

    My family will regard this as a cultural heresy, but I don't like Pavlova. Trust me, unless you like eating lots of meringue, you're not missing out on anything.

     

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