I don’t know if pecan pie is traditionally a holiday pie, but I always associate it with Thanksgiving – only slightly less than pumpkin pie. As with pumpkin pie, I only enjoy pecan pie around the holidays – I love the taste, but it would just be too out of place any other time of the year.
The pecan pie recipe in MSBH is a lot of fun and tastes great, in large part thanks to the bourbon. Making the pie in a bottomless cake ring was a little tricky and I think it would take me a few tries to get it to turn out right. I love how cylindrical the pie looks in the end, however, and I’m so impressed with the leaf cutouts on top.
A cake ring is essentially a circular cake pan that lacks a bottom. There’s no rim and should not be any seam so you end up with very smooth, clean edges. Mine is from Fat Daddio, a great culinary supplier.
One half of the recipe for pâte brisée is rolled out and formed into the ring, which sits on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough is too soft to keep its shape easily; the sides wanted to keep folding inwards.
I would keep cooling the dough in the refrigerator for 10-minute intervals and finally I got it to keep its shape in the ring. It then went into the freezer for 30 minutes.
The recipe says the sides should come up 1-1/2 inch and my ring has 2-inch sides, so I trimmed off some of the edge with a knife. Upon completing the recipe, I realized this was unnecessary. I had to hold back some of the filling to avoid over-filling the crust, and had I not trimmed the edges, I could have simply poured it all in and everything would have been fine.
The crust is blind baked. Here is my crust just before going into the oven for the blind bake.
Decorative leaf shapes are cut from the other half of the pâte brisée and kept in the refrigerator until needed.
The filling is very easy. You start with chopped pecans. I love using my food processor for stuff like this.
The wet ingredients are pretty standard for pecan pie, but I love that the recipe calls for bourbon. Liquor in baked goods – it always seems so unapologetically decadent.
All the wet ingredients are stirred together and the pecans are folded in.
The filling is poured into the pre-baked crust and the leaf shapes are brushed with cream and placed on top, along with some half-pieces of pecans.
Another thing I learned is that the leaf shapes should be pre-baked along with the crust, even though the recipe does not instruct to do so. They just didn’t turn golden while baking on top of the pie. I also placed the pie on top of a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up, so that the bottom of the pie would not become too dark while baking.
After about an hour in the oven, it was good and done. Another hour cooling on the baking tray and I could easily slip off the cake ring and transfer the entire pie (carefully) directly onto a cooling rack.
I wish my edges had a perfectly straight lip like the one featured in the MSBH’s recipe photo, but I figured out enough to ensure that it will happen next time I make this recipe. Not trimming the dough will help immensely. I’m thrilled everything went as well as it did and the pie tastes delicious. The hint of bourbon in every bite is delightful.