I know I haven't blogged in a while. I've been baking as usual, I just haven't had the time or energy to post anything on the blog. However, every time I think I should just shut it down, someone asks me for a recipe, or I get a random note from a stranger who stumbled across the blog looking for a recipe, and I decide I should continue for a while.
I got very excited this year about Pi day (3/14) since this is the first year that I have felt semi-confident in my ability to make pie crust. I think I made a pie that used a graham cracker crust last year, but that seems a bit like cheating to me.... But this year -- after much trial and tribulation, I have finally figured out the trick that works for me to make a pie crust that actually tastes good: freeze the dry ingredients for several hours and then use the food processor to cut in the butter. I still haven't figured out how to make my pie crusts pretty, but they taste good, and that's the most important part for me.
For this particular Pi day I asked Chris what kind of pie he wanted and he instantly said pecan. Since I happen to love pecan pie myself that worked for me. I was actually going to make the Dorie Greenspan Pecan Pie that had chocolate, cinnamon and espresso powder, but it turned out I was out of chocolate (shocking!). I thought about just omitting all three of those ingredients and making a traditional pecan pie, but in the end I left out the cinnamon, but added the espresso powder.
It actually worked perfectly. The espresso helped cut some of the sweetness of the pecan filling, and added an intriguing bitter counterpart to the corn syrup sweet. Dorie's original version is also quite good of course (it is Dorie after all), but if you find yourself out of chocolate and/or cinnamon, just using the espresso powder is quite nice.
one 9-inch single pie crust, partially baked and cooled
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs at room temp
2 tsps instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I omitted this)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I omitted this too)
Preheat oven to 425. Put the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment.
In a large bowl whisk the corn syrup and brown sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time beating until you have a light, foamy mixture. Add the espresso powder, vanilla, cinnamon (if using) and salt and give the batter a good mix. Rap the bowl against the counter to get rid of any bubbles, then stir in the pecans and chocolate (if using) before pouring the filing into the crust.
Bake the pie fro 15 minutes. Meanwhile make a foil shield for the crust by cutting a piece of aluminum foil and shaping it so it will cover the edge of the crust, but leave the middle of the pie showing. (Or buy a crust shield...) Remove the pie from the oven and put the shield on the crust. Then reduce the oven temp to 350 and bake for another 15-20 minutes (total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes), or until it is no longer jiggly in the middle. Transfer the pie plate to a rack and cool to room temp.