A long weekend BBQ, some uncharacteristic (for Adelaide) rain and a request for pecan pie …
BBQs I like. They are an excuse to eat a lot of bread, meat and maybe dessert, and the whole salad thing is just an annoyance. Having a BBQ at home is even better because I can make as much dessert as I want and know that there’s a good chance it will be eaten.
I had already spotted a pecan pie recipe in James Martin’s The Collection* so I knew exactly where to head.
This recipe is ridiculously easy … even more so if you choose to cheat and use ready shortcrust pastry or a pre-made pastry case.
I used James’s recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry – although I had to omit the ground almonds as I had none.
To make the pastry, take 225g plain flour, a pinch of salt, 2 tbsp of caster sugar and 115g of unsalted butter. Whizzy up in the food processor until it looks like small breadcrumbs. This won’t take very long. Then add one egg and just enough water to bring the pastry together. Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes in the fridge (wrapped in cling film). If you have a food processor this takes just seconds.
While the pastry is resting, make the filling. In a bowl, mix 350g of pecans, 55g of dark chocolate, grated (or chopped up, if you’re a bit lazy), 1 tsp of vanilla extract, a pinch or two of salt, 350mL of maple syrup (BEWARE! buy real maple syrup and not ‘maple flavoured syrup’) and 300g of caster sugar.
Beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the nut mix. Finish everything off by adding 115g of melted unsalted butter.
If you have made your own pastry, bake it blind (10 minutes or so at 160°C with baking beans and another 10 minutes or so without, finish by brushing with beaten egg and sealing for 2 minutes – this stops the base going soggy), before adding the filling.
If you are using a ready made pastry case, all you now have to do is fill the case with the nut mix.
Whichever route you’re taking, bake at 160°C for about an hour. James Martin makes the point that it’s quite difficult to tell if the pie is cooked, so if you want to err on the side of caution, turn the oven down 20° and bake for an extra 10 minutes.
Allow to cool before serving.
If you use a shallow tart dish you could well have a lot of filling left over. I made a pile of little pies – very cute, perfect for afternoon tea at work!
The pies are gorgeous – the chocolate adds a really subtle depth of flavour that works well with the vanilla and maple syrup.
This is such a simple but delicious pie I will definitely be making it again.