It took me a long time to reconcile my palate with some staple American holiday desserts like pumpkin or sweet potato pies and pecan pie. As much as I love custards, pumpkin is not my go to for a satisfying slice of pie and pecan pie, the way I came to first know it, was a cloying, overly sweet and sticky mess I found downright abominable. The reason for it is that most commercial pecan pies are made with an ungodly amount of corn syrup and, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to corn syrup, the end result in a pie is an unpleasant sweetness that overpowers the nuts.
As a pastry chef, I had to find ways to serve these desserts that were in line with my most basic baking principles (principle n 1: nothing should ever be too sweet). For years I made the pecan pies for my personal holidays with lovely Grade B Maple Syrup instead of corn syrup. The result is a marriage made in heaven but also terribly expensive as both pecans and good maple syrup don’t come cheap.
At work, I would add chocolate and bourbon – an adult version that sweet was not but still pleased the crowd. This year, I decided to eliminate the stickiness altogether and make my pecan pie with butter, honey, rum, chocolate and coconut flakes. Maybe not terribly orthodox but the Thanksgiving table deemed it so successful that only a few crumbs were left.
The crust was my tried and true crust, the recipe for which you can find here. If you are in a lazy mood, go ahead and buy a “fake” one from the store but, no matter how good, the difference between home-made and store-bought just cannot be bridged. Just saying.
The rest is as easy as pie.
RECIPE – Yields 1 10”pie
1 Raw pie crust, in a 10” pie plate
4 oz Butter (113 grams)
1/3 C Honey
2 T Heavy Cream
1/3 C Brown sugar (133 g)
1/4 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened (30 g)
2 T Rum
1/4 C Dark Chocolate Chips
1 3/4 C Pecans (175 g)
Pinch of salt
- Line the crust with parchment and fill with pie weights then pre-bake at 325 F for about 15 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and finish baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool.
- Melt the butter. In a bowl, combine the butter, honey, cream, rum, sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir in the chocolate chips, coconut flakes and pecan. Mix to combine and pour in the cooled crust. The mixture will be fairly stiff and you might need to flatten it a bit with your hands.
- Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes or until the filling is golden brown and slightly puffed up.
- Let cool completely and serve with whipped cream (maybe spiced with more rum and/or cacao nibs)