Apparently it’s Pie Week over at Epicurious, and never one to question what legitimacy an organization has for declaring that an arbitrarily selected time period should be set aside for celebrating pie, I’m going along with it, just like I go along with Pie Day. And Pi Day for that matter. At some point I’ll declare the month of my birthday Pie Month. And when I retire, I’ll establish a Pie Year.
I’ve been busy as all hell lately because that’s just where we are in the software lifecycle: the part where I’m so fucking busy at work that I come home and my brain has been pummeled so thoroughly that it’s all I can do just to drool on myself a little, never mind summon coherent sentences and get my fingers to type them out. But for Pie Week and Uncle John who needs a pecan pie recipe, I will do my best.
A caveat though: my editor, Earl, who sometimes doubles as my fiancé, has gone to India for 3 fucking weeks – because we weren’t quite separated enough by the Atlantic Ocean, he had to throw the Indian Ocean in there too, asshole – so any mistakes or gratuitous swearing are absolutely his fault. Absolutely.
This recipe comes from Ken Haedrich’s Pieble. I’ve made it at least half a dozen times, and I love it because it wants me to put whiskey in it. This pie can be kind of a butt because of the pre-baking (I’ve had not a few warped crusts in my pecan pie-making lifetime), but I find that nobody really gives a shit because you’re giving them pecan pie full of chocolate and Jack Daniels.
Ken Haedrich’s recipe is followed by my notes.
– 4 large eggs, at room temperature
– 1 cup (202.282 g) sugar
– ¾ cup (59.147 mL) dark corn syrup
– 2 tbsp (29.574 mL) Jack Daniel’s whiskey
– 2 tbsp (28.35 g) unsalted butter, melted
– 1 tsp (4.929 mL) vanilla extract
– 1 cup (104.185 g) pecan halves
– ½ cup (85.049 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1. If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
2. On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pastry into a 13-inch (33.02 cm) circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9½-inch (24.13 cm) deep dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then partially pre-bake and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (176.667ºC).
3. Combine the eggs, sugar, and corn syrup in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the whiskey, butter, and vanilla. Whisk again until evenly combined. Scatter the pecans and chocolate chips evenly over the cooled pie shell. Whisk the filling once more, then slowly pour it over the nuts and chips.
4. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake until the filling is set, about 45 minutes, rotating the 180 degrees (Π radians) halfway through the baking, so that the side that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. When done, the top of the filling will be toasted brown and the perimeter slightly puffed.
5. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool thoroughly. Serve at room temperature, or cover with loosely tented aluminum foil, refrigerate, and serve cold. Either way, it is wonderful.
– I may have mentioned how I have a tendency to forget to leave my eggs out long enough for them to be room temperature. Just run them under warmish-hottish water for several minutes when you forget too.
– What, your country isn’t obsessed with corn and you can’t find dark corn syrup anywhere? That’s ok. Use golden syrup, maybe with molasses if you can find it. Then please do me the favor of explaining to me why the hell you call it a “corn exchange” if it doesn’t have much to do with corn. Thanks.
– I have been known to bump the whiskey up to 3 tbsp (44.360 mL), but mostly when I know that children aren’t going to be partaking. Contrary to popular belief, baking/cooking alcohol doesn’t burn all the alcohol off, and it won’t do to get your kids (and honestly, small Asians) drunk and hobble their impulse control even more than it already is.
– Screw pecan halves. Cutting pecan halves into neat pie wedges is a bitch. Chop those halves up coarsely.
– I always – always – add more than just ½ cup chocolate chips.
– Don’t be lazy and use the pecans from last year. That shit goes stale and people can totally tell. Not to mention after all that time, who knows what insects have laid their eggs in there and what kind of larvae are crawling around, hidden in the little grooves and crevices of the nuts. I speak from horrifying experience, people. Just pony up the $5 for a new bag of nuts.
– That note, “Either way, it is wonderful”, is a rare editorial within the actual text of the recipe. Usually he saves those little notes for before or after the recipe, so you know this one is special. Please pretend I said nothing about larvae, because it really is a great pie.