Partaking of the Pecan Pie

God Bless Kentucky

Recently, here at the ol’ Wine Gourmet we held a seminar on Food & Wine Pairing.  While there were a number of dishes served and paired, I got several requests for a recipe for the dessert I made that we matched with a tawny port.  In a way, it was a triple whammy, alcoholically speaking.  I made a Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie and topped it with Orange-Cointreau Whipped Cream and then served it with a Warres Otima Ten-Year Old Tawny Port.  It’s not much trouble to make this and it’s usually a big hit. The addition of the orange whipped cream is what takes it to a special level.

Anyway, here ’tis!

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie


Pie Pastry:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ cup finely ground pecans
1 tbs. sugar
Pinch salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 tbs. ice water, plus more if needed

Filling:

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup dark corn syrup or sugar cane syrup
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tbs. bourbon (Kentucky bourbon is a must.  I like Evan Williams – but Maker’s Mark, or Jim Beam, or Wild Turkey, etc. are all fine choices as well.)
¼ tsp. salt
cups pecan halves

Whipped Cream

8 oz. Heavy Cream
¼ Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Medium Orange
1 Tbs. Cointreau


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°F.

Place pie crust into oven to crisp it up.  Remove at the first hint of browning.

To make the filling: melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler* over medium-low heat, remove from heat and let cool.  Separate whites from yolks and save two whites. Whip the two egg whites to soft peaks and set aside.  Beat the yolks in a large mixing bowl until very smooth and then blend in the sugar. Stir in the syrup, vanilla, bourbon, salt, and the melted chocolate mixture until well blended then fold the whipped egg whites into the mixture.

Arrange the pecans on the bottom of the pie crust and carefully pour the filling 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 a rack and cool completely before cutting.

To make the Whipped Cream: Take a zester and scrape the skin from the orange.  Chop the orange zest until it is very fine.  This should render anywhere from a teaspoon to tablespoon of zest, depending on the size of the orange and the efficiency of your zesting. No need to worry though as even just  a teaspoon will be plenty.
Slice the orange and juice it straining out any seeds or significant pulp.  Heat a small sauce pan to medium-high and add the orange juice.  bring the Juice to a boil and reduce, stirring regularly, until the juice is reduced to about a Tablespoon.  It should be the consistency of a thin syrup.
Refrigerate a clean, metal bowl.  (It’s important to use chilled metal to get the best results from whipping the cream.)  Remove the chilled bowl from the refrigerator and add the cream.  With a hand whisk or an electric mixer (with a whisk attachment), beat the cream until it begins to thicken.  Add the rest of the ingredients (a tsp. of zest, reduced juice, Cointreau and most of the sugar) and continue to beat the mixture. After the ingredients are thoroughly combined  but before the mixture has gotten to the proper consistency, taste the whipped cream for sweetness and adjust with more sugar to your liking.  (I prefer it only just a little sweet.)
The whipped cream should set-up in relatively short order.  You want to stop when it holds its peaks. – Be careful not to over-beat or you’ll end up with butter, albeit yummy orange-butter that’ll be great on a breakfast roll, but butter none-the-less.

Sailors rejoice! - Here be a fine port.

* A double boiler is easily improvised with a saucepan and bowl.  Put water in the saucepan to a depth below the lowest point the bowl will reach.  You don’t want the water touching the bowl.  Heat the water at medium low to create a light  steam and melt the chocolate/butter combination in the bottom of the bowl.

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm  Comments (1)