Hello! Goodness, it has been a long time since I blogged, but definitely not since I baked. For those that know I live in a country where we are facing an Ebola outbreak, let me say, it’s been crazy here…and so work has changed dramatically…and, I’m sure it goes without saying, gotten a lot busier. So I’m sorry to have been MIA, but I’m hoping to be able to post a lot more in the coming year!
Despite how crazy everything is here, my friends and I still need outlets to make sure that we can cope, and one such outlet is a dinner party. We had a huge Thanksgiving sit down feast with 20+ people, including Americans and non-Americans celebrating for the first time, and it was epic. I had stashed a ton of pecans in my suitcase (as buying them here is about $30 per pound!), and so decided to share with everyone and make this super easy and incredibly delicious pecan pie. 🙂
Also, I have to admit it, but this was the first time that I EVER made a pie crust. I’m usually all about cheating, but finding quality pie crusts in this country can be rather difficult, so I finally decided to suck it up and make it myself. I followed the easy recipe below, and it turned out great! I used two of the three pie crusts that this recipe will make, and that’s because I decided to decorate the edges with little “leaves.” Okay, full disclosure. I used cupcake cookie cutters, but when they’re not decorated, they basically look like leaves. My friend used a toothpick to draw lines on them, and voila! Little leaves that I layered around the edge of the pie like a laurel. Looked and tasted delicious!
On this page there are three types of pie crust: I used the shortening recipe, below. But if you have a pastry cutter and want to go with the butter recipe, or use the vegetable oil, do whatever works for you!
Recipe adapted slightly from Neighborhood Food Blog
1½ cups butter-flavored vegetable shortening (you can use regular vegetable shortening for this, I just found that the butter-flavored one adds a much better taste to the dough)
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Add the shortening and flour together to a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or a large fork to cut the shortening into the flour. Keep working at it until the mixture is in small coarse crumbs, basically when your hands are tired! 🙂 Add the beaten egg, cold water, vinegar, and salt. Stir the ingredients together until they begin to adhere and a dough is formed.
Separate the dough into thirds, either by eying the dough, or you can measure on a scale – each ball of dough should weight about 235 grams. Form each third into a dough ball then flatten with the palm of your hand into a round disk. Place disks in separate sealable plastic bags and stick in the freezer for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
When you’re ready to make the pie, remove 2 balls of dough from freezer. If the dough is frozen solid, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for 20 minutes before using.
Place the dough disk on a very lightly floured piece of wax or parchment paper, then sprinkle with a bit more flour and top with a second piece of wax paper. Use a rolling pin (or, if you don’t have a rolling pin, an empty wine bottle) to roll the dough into a circle that’s ½ inch bigger than the outer diameter of your pie plate.
Peel back the top layer of parchment then flip the crust into the pie plate. Peel back the second layer of parchment, then use your fingers to press the crust into the pie plate.
Fill the pie with the mixture below, once finished. Then, roll out the second ball of dough, same as the first above, though leaving the dough a bit thicker. Using pastry cutters or cookie cutters, cut out leaves or other designs. Decorate the edges of the pie however you would like, and then it’s ready to cook per the instructions below!
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup golden syrup (if you don’t have access to this, light corn syrup will work fine)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice (freshly squeezed or otherwise is fine)
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups pecan halves (1/2 pound)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit / 178 degrees celsius. Place a baking sheet on middle rack.
After following the instructions above for the first pie crust, once you’ve got it set in the pie plate lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, whisking over heat until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in golden syrup, vanilla, orange zest and juice, bourbon and salt. Lightly beat eggs in a separate medium bowl, then whisk into corn syrup mixture.
Put pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them. Decorate the pie crust edges with the leaves or other pie crust decorations.
Bake on hot baking sheet until filling is set, approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely and then serve and enjoy!