Whether you are using Texas or Georgia pecans, this is simply the best pecan pie I have ever tasted. Pecan pies are too often sickeningly sweet. The secret here is brown rice syrup, which is readily available in natural food stores. I happen to think the booze helps, too. Add a little more to the whipped cream if you like.
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter ice-cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening ice-cold, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon ice water
3 large eggs lightly beaten
1 cup brown rice syrup (see Cook’s Note)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups pecan halves
1 tablespoon milk
Buttermilk Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Scatter the butter and shortening pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and water and process for a few seconds, just until a ball of dough begins to form. Do not overprocess. (To make the dough by hand, place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture. Add the sour cream and ice water and mix just until it comes together and forms a mass.)
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, gathering all the loose bits, and form into a disk about 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, o r up to overnight.
Have a 9- or 10-inch pie pan ready. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Dust the work surface and dough with a little more flour, as necessary, to keep the dough from sticking. Roll the dough around the rolling pin, lift it over the pie pan, and unroll the dough over the pan. Adjust to center the dough, then press it into place. Trim the excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang; then tuck it under itself to form a double thickness around the edge of the pan. Crimp the edges with a fork, or use your fingers to flute the edges to form a decorative pie crust. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, bourbon, melted butter, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Fold in the pecans and set aside.
To assemble the pie, pour the pecan filling into the chilled pie shell. Use a pastry brush to brush some of the milk along the edge of the pastry. Place the pie in the oven, and immediately reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake the pie until the filling just begins to puff at the edges and the center no longer jiggles when gently shaken, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the cream, buttermilk, and confectioners’ sugar. Using a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slice the pie into wedges, top with the buttermilk whipped cream, and serve.
Brown rice syrup is a sweetener. Light brown in color, it is only moderately sweet in comparison with corn syrup. For those with wheat allergies, it has the advantage of being gluten-free. Brown rice syrup is typically sold in glass jars, and is found in the baking section of natural food stores.
The pie dough can made, wrapped tightly, and frozen up to 3 weeks in advance. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling it out. The whipped cream can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pie is best when baked the day you are planning to serve it.