Saturday, 13 September 2014

Pecan Pie with Bourbon

I have a confession to make...I can't do pastry! 

So I've set myself a challenge to learn to make pastry.  It's not that I don't understand the ingredients, the measurements or the technique.  I. Just. Can't. Do. It.  

Now you may say it's easy - as many have done - but I don't agree.  I think I have a mental block about it just in the same way that I used to say I couldn't do maths.  Cakes, bread, and yorkshire puddings hold no fear for me and I love attempting new recipes, but pastry, no thank you.

However, at a training day this week (unrelated to pastry/cooking) we were asked to think of a challenge we'd like to overcome and given the current showings of 'The Great British Bake Off' my thoughts turned to pastry, my nemesis of choice.

My poor family have never been given much in the way of pastry baked goods: pies, pasties or tarts, I just haven't wanted to make pastry as I knew I'd be setting myself up to fail.  Although to be fair neither do I particularly like pastry myself - I'm like one of those parents whose children have never tried bananas because the parent doesn't like them (I do like bananas by the way).

So my challenge is to make pastry successfully, enjoy the process, and not eff and blind as I have done in the past (my daughter and OH were witness to that particular event).

The prescribed solution was to take small steps before building up to fully fledged pastry, i.e. cheat!  So I bought some shortcrust pastry to use first - then I'll try a bag of pastry mix before being let loose with the real stuff.

So what to make first?  Obviously (as the title of the post says) Pecan Pie with Bourbon, a Jamie Oliver recipe.  I had all of the ingredients in the cupboard and found the whole recipe fairly easy to do, particularly given the bought pastry.  Although a costly dessert as pecans are quite expensive, I thought the expense worthwhile if it helps me to succeed in my challenge.  You'll find the recipe at the end of the post...

The assembled ingredients (please ignore the plastered but unpainted wall).

A pastry case baked blind....and I'm actually enjoying the cooking although I suspect I rolled the pastry a bit thinly in places, hence the browner bits.  But please notice that there is no soggy bottom!

The pecan, sugar, bourbon, treacle, eggs and cinnamon mix before going into the pastry case.

The finished pie - delicious with some ice cream.  Not too sweet, warming from the bourbon and a successful  start on my pastry journey.

Tonight it's Corned Beef and Potato Pie at the request of my OH (using the remainder of the bought pastry).

Bourbon Pecan Tart (Jamie's America)
Serves 10-12.  
Oven temp: 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Sweet pastry (I used ordinary shortcrust pastry)
450g pecan nuts
3 large eggs
175g golden caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100ml molasses or black treacle
50g unsalted butter, melted
50ml bourbon whiskey

Make pastry according to the recipe.
Take half of the pecans and using a rolling pin smash them up in a bag or tea towel.
After chilling the pastry roll it out and bake blind in a preheated oven.
For the filling whisk together the sugar, eggs and cinnamon.  Add the smashed pecans, molasses/treacle, butter and bourbon and mix with a spoon.  Stir in the rest of the pecans.
Pour the mixture into the pastry case.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set at the sides.  
remove from the oven and cool in the tin before serving (at least an hour).
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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