Monday, September 6, 2010

Hoosier Pie

Submitted by Michelle
My husband David has brought many wonderful things to my life, but one thing in particular which I am thankful for is pecan pie. In my pre-David years I never touched the stuff. To me, dessert had nothing to do with nuts and everything to do with chocolate. Sometimes I would let fruits or berries interrupt my dessert routine. After all, a slice of fresh peach pie topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream is mighty delightful, but in general I stuck to chocolate. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate cream pie. If it had chocolate, I would eat it. And if nuts happened to creep in with the chocolate then so be it, but an all nut dessert was not my cup of tea. However, when I met David he encouraged me to try all kinds of new things, and pecan pie was one of them. And oddly enough, I didn't just like it, I LOVED it. The downside was, having discovered my adoration for pecan pie, it became my nemesis in the kitchen. I tried recipe after recipe and failed every time. It seemed the pie was either so full of nuts that it was hard and dry, or not nutty enough so that the filling seemed soupy. I also struggled with knowing when to take it out of the oven so that it was cooked enough to have a firm filling but not so overcooked that it would be hard as a brick. But now, thanks to Molly Wizenberg, my pecan pie woes have come to an end. I've discovered the absolute perfect recipe for pecan pie AND it has chocolate in it to boot!

As I mentioned last week I am reading A Homemade Life and each chapter ends with a recipe. I'm finding that at the end of every chapter I'm saying to myself, "I've got to make this" because everything sounds so amazing. The chapter on Hoosier Pie promised " unusually good pecan pie, with just the right ratio of nuts to soft, not-too-sweet goo." Yesterday morning I decided to give the recipe a whirl and see if all that Wizenberg writes about it is true.

The pie baking actually started on Saturday night with a trip to Bev-Mo for a bottle of bourbon. The recipe calls for two tablespoons of "the best bourbon you have because its flavor will shine through." I'm not a bourbon drinker so I went straight to the rack of tiny bottles of booze, you know the size they have on airplanes. I only had two choices: Wild Turkey or Maker's Mark. I figured Maker's Mark might be the better of the two.
Other than the bourbon, I had everything I needed in my kitchen pantry.
Me and my Type A personality would usually make a crust from scratch, but I was in a crunch for time so I allowed myself to purchase a Pillsbury crust - the kind that you unroll and put in your pie pan. It turned out really well, tasted great and I was so glad I let go of my regular routine and gave myself a break.
The recipe is simple and straight forward. The nuts and chocolate chips go in the bottom of the crust.
Everything else is mixed together and poured over the top.
The recipe gave great directions for the baking of the pie. It said, " The pie is ready when the edges are firm, the top is deep brown, and the center seems set but jiggles ever so slightly."
I served the Hoosier Pie to some friends last night who had joined David and me for dinner. It was a hit all the way around the table and even Celeste, who can be just as picky as me when it comes to desserts, enjoyed it to the very last bite.

Molly Wizenberg's Hoosier Pie

One 9" pie crust, unbaked (In the book there is a recipe for crust but I didn't feel like typing it here.)

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet, such as Ghiradelli 60%
1 cup pecan halves

Set an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter on medium-low speed until soft and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating all the while. When the sugar is fully incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Beat well. Beat in the bourbon. The batter should be pale yellow and fairly thin.

Scatter the chocolate chips and nuts evenly over the base of the crust; then pour in the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after the 30-minute mark. The filling will puff gently as it bakes. The pies is ready when the edges are firm, the top is deep brown, and the center seems set but jiggles every so slightly. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. The filling will firm up as it cools. Serve with whipped cream, if you like.


Cheryl D said...

I love reading your blog! You are an inspiration as always. I might point out (since you failed to mention it) that one of the additional perks of eating pecan pie, is that you get to say "pecan pie." One of the better pie names to pronounce, and only slightly less linguistically satisfying than "sweet potato pie."

Liz Leahy said...

Michelle - Thanks for posting this. I haven't tried the recipes in the book yet but now I'm doubly inspired!Liz