Pie filling recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated (membership required to view link)
This recipe may have been born out of my inability to concoct a gluten-free pie crust that meets my satisfaction, but that doesn’t mean these crust-less gems give up anything that you expect in a pecan pie. They are every bit as gooey and sinfully sweet as you’d expect, and have a nice toasty flavor from the toasted pecans instead of the traditional crust. The hint of bourbon is nice too!
I’ve made plenty of crustless quiches and muffins in the Le Creuset Silicone Baking Cups , but I didn’t know how they would handle this sticky mess. Turns out they worked perfectly. The silicone cups do not require any oil or non-stick spray, and easily peel off the pies after baking. They also wash up easily, although I recommend hand-washing them.
We enjoyed these pies for Thanksgiving, but they make wonderful individual servings for any gathering. Top with whipped cream, ice cream, or nothing at all!
Ingredients (makes 12 muffin-sized pecan pies):
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole pecans
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (grass-fed), for toasting pecans
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (grass-fed), for pie filling
- 1/2 cup Coconut Palm Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs (free-range)
- 1 cup maple syrup, pure, preferably Grade B or Grade A dark amber
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add pecans. Cook, tossing frequently, until pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from pan immediately to prevent burning the pecans, and allow to cool. Chop into small pieces.
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin pan with silicone baking cups, or well-greased paper baking cups. Distribute the chopped pecans equally into the baking cups. Set aside.
Using a large heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (or a double boiler), melt the 4 tablespoons butter. Remove the bowl from the heat; stir in sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is adsorbed. Beat in the eggs, then the maple syrup. Return the bowl over the simmering water; stir until the mixture is shiny, smooth, and warm to the touch. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon and vanilla.
Pour the pie filling into the baking cups over the pecans, distributing equally. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pie filling is set, but still soft to the touch, and the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, at least 4 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yum!
Yum indeed! And our musical selection is yummy too, Joe Henry’s 12th album, Reverie. Acoustic and rowdy, they call his music “lounge noir”, but whatever it is, it’s mesmerizing. Armed with a poet’s touch and a innate sense of musicality, this is a another winner from Henry.