I’m trying not to brag, but this may be the best pie I think I’ve ever made. And quite possibly the best I’ve ever eaten.
I’ve always loved pie, but rarely eat it as so many commercially made pies are a bit bleugh, usually with soggy pastry. And until recently I couldn’t be bothered making pastry. So really, what was the point!
THIS HAS NOW ALL CHANGED!!
Some of hubby’s golf mates came over for lunch a few weeks ago, at a time that coincided with my baking mojo returning. Yay! So given this happy turn of events, I thought I’d go all out and make two desserts. A gorgeous bourbon pecan tart from Jamie’s America, my favourite of all Jamie Oliver books; and a sticky date tart from the latest Delicious cookbook, Home Cooking by Valli Little.
However time passed, and before I knew it the guests had arrived. The main course was fairly well cooked (slow roast lamb with a couple of salads), the pie cases had been cooked, and part of the fillings prepped. It was about this time that my baking mojo temporarily vanished in favour of a couple of glasses of vino. You know how it is. I also realised I had cooked enough for another eight people, and that one pie would be enough.
This is where the pie miracle began. I figured why not just combine what I’d already prepped into one pie. After all, date and pecan muffins are my favourite morning tea.
It was about this time I also discovered I was missing a key ingredient for Jamie’s recipe. So I improvised. With maple syrup. Which is one of my all time favourite foods ever.
In one mouthful, this became the best pecan pie I’ve ever eaten. No, make that the best pie ever. I think I swooned.
Maple bourbon date and pecan pie
by Mel Kettle
What you need:
I make a spelt flour pastry from Jude Blereau’s new book Wholefood Baking, as wheat and my tummy are not great friends. And I’m addicted to Lachlan’s bagels from Flour & Chocolate, which easily gives me more than my required daily wheat allotment.
If you don’t share my wheat affliction, you can use your favourite sweet pastry recipe. Or buy a really good quality ready made pastry – my favourite is Careme.
- 180g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 130g unbleached white spelt flour
- 145g wholemeal spelt flour
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- 90-150ml ice-cold water – I use tap water and stick a few ice cubes in it to quickly cool it down
- 240g pitted dates
- 170ml milk
- 1tsp bicarb soda
- 450g pecans
- 3 large eggs
- 150g brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 100ml maple syrup
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 50ml bourbon
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Once the dough is chilled, roll it out – you’ll need to flour the mat or bench, and also flour your rolling pin well as the dough should be a bit sticky. Try not to use too much flour, but make sure it’s enough so the dough doesn’t stick. Once you’ve rolled it out, use a palette knife (or an egg flip if you don’t have a palette knife) to carefully lift the dough to turn it. Roll the other side – you want it to be about 35cm in diameter and about 3mm thick.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Grease a 24cm loose-based tart tin that is 3cm deep. Carefully transfer the pastry to the tin (this can be fairly easily done by loosely folding the pastry into four, placing it the tin, then gently unfolding it. Carefully push the pastry into the tin and cut off any excess pastry that hangs over the edge. You might need to use some of this excess pastry to patch any gaps or holes in the pastry. Pop the remaining pastry back in plastic wrap and in the fridge (you can also freeze it).
Pop the pastry in the tin in the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill.
|Fresh out of the oven|
Without cleaning the thermomix bowl, add the date and milk mix and turbo pulse 3-4 times until it’s like a chunky paste. If you don’t have an electric gadget to do this, use a potato masher or a fork.
Add the date mix to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, and also mix in the maple syrup, melted butter and bourbon and stir well. Finally, fold in the rest of the pecans.
|I love a flaky pastry, even if it means a less than fab photo!|