Friday, November 27, 2009

Let them eat pie...

This year, in the midst of my chaos, I chose not to celebrate Thanksgiving. I did not travel to family. I did not except traditional dinner invitations. I did not feast on the norm. Instead of turkey there was tapas. Instead of pie there was paella. Instead of family there were friends. I thought this is what I wanted. I thought this would easier, less messy. I thought wrong.

After a day of craving I realized I want the pie. I need the pie. The pie is essential to me getting through the chaos. I cannot turn back the clock but I can look forward to the next holiday. I can embrace the caroling and the lights and the travel. I can be thankful for family and let them in.

And maybe, just maybe, I can continue to bake and perfect the most tasty pie to take home for the holidays. After all, isn't it all about the pie?

First step in the process...

Bourbon And Chocolate Pecan Pie
Adapted from Tyler Florence

Pie Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup finely ground pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs1 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup or sugar cane syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

To make the pastry: combine the flour, ground pecans, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in the ice water and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly and trim the excess around the rim. Place the pie pan on a sturdy cookie sheet so it will be easy to move in and out of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling: melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, remove from heat and let cool. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy and then blend in the sugar. Stir in the syrup, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and the melted butter mixture until well blended.

Arrange the pecans on the bottom of the pie crust and carefully pour the egg mixture over them. Bake until the filling is set and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a thin knife in the center of the pie, if it comes out pretty clean, you're good to go. Transfer the pie to rack and cool completely before cutting.

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