Serves: 2 (5 to 6 inch) pies, or 8 servings
Ingredients:To infuse these small pies with the deep caramel and vanilla note of bourbon, soak the pecans in bourbon before adding to the pie filling. The longer the pecans soak, the more flavor they will absorb. If you prefer, you can omit this step and still enjoy a delicious holiday treat.
- 6 ounces (about 1-½ cups) pecan halves
- 1-½ cups good quality bourbon
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
- 1-¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1-¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ to ⅓ cup ice water
Procedures:To prepare pecans, place in a medium mixing bowl and add bourbon. Toss pecans to coat and let sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour. Drain well through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside, reserving bourbon for another use.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. To prepare pie crust for baking, lightly flour a work surface. Cut pie dough in half and roll each piece into two circles measuring 8 to 9 inches each. Transfer each to a 6 inch mini-pie pan and center inside pan. Use kitchen shears to trim dough in the pie pan so it overhangs by 1 inch. Tuck in edges of dough and crimp edges decoratively. Freeze both pans for 10 minutes.
To prepare filling, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter melts, whisk in brown sugar and corn syrup. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly. Pour butter mixture into eggs and whisk well to combine. Using a silicone spatula, fold drained pecans into filling.
Remove lined pie pans from freezer and divide filling equally between the two. Place pie pans on a rimmed baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Bake until filling is set and crust is lightly browned, about 35 to 45 minutes. If crust starts to brown too quickly before filling is set, over edges of crust with aluminum foil. Remove pies from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Flaky Pie Dough
- Yield: 1, 9- to 10-inch crust
To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. Stir and fluff the flour mixture with a fork until shaggy clumps form. Pick up the large clumps and squeeze to test for moisture. If clumps hold together, transfer them to a work surface and continue adding tablespoons of ice water and stirring.
Gather the clumps of dough together on a work surface. If the butter feels soft, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before proceeding. If the butter still feels cold, knead the dough gently 4 or 5 times. If dough falls apart, return it to the mixing bowl and sprinkle teaspoons of ice water and mix with a fork until dough holds together when squeezed.
Flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.