Bourbon Pecan Pie

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Our final New York dish is pecan pie, served in diners up and down this great city. Originally based on a ‘transparent pie’ — a pie with a glossy sweet filling made of brown sugar, molasses or maple syrup — it was probably invented by a native of New Orleans, having purchased a few handfuls of the southern nuts from an Algonquian Indian. ‘Pecan’ is Algonquian for ‘hard nut to crack’ — a little like our illustrious hero.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 300g/11oz plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm/½inch cubes and softened
  • 3—4 tablespoons iced water

For the Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 350g/12oz golden syrup
  • 75g/3oz light brown sugar
  • 40g/oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 450g/1lb pecans

Method

First make the pastry dough. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Add the softened butter and mix together (in a blender, with a fork or by hand) until fully, but coarsely, combined. Slowly add the iced water, bit by bit, stirring until the dough begins to firm up. Go on instinct here — add a little more water if the dough seems too dry. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and when the dough is ready, roll it out and press it into a loose-bottomed pie dish. Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge. Now, blind-bake in the hot oven placing baking beans on top of the pastry to keep it from rising. Remove the pastry from the oven after 15—20 minutes, or when the crust is golden. Set aside to cool and remove the baking beans.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, whisk together the eggs, corn syrup and brown sugar. Add the cooled melted butter and whisk until well mixed. Next whisk in the bourbon, vanilla and cinnamon, and stir in the pecans. Pour the filling into your pie shell and bake for about 20—25 minutes, until set. Keep checking the pie, as it’s easy for it to burn in just a couple of minutes.

When cooked, place on a rack to cool before serving with whipped cream on the side.

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