Bacon-Maple-Bourbon-Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas dinners deserve a grown-up dessert. That’s why we knew we had to try this recipe when we found it in the monthly newsletter that our realtors send to us. Of course, it wasn’t as fantastic as it could be so we modified it for some extra wow factor. The original recipe is for a Bacon-Maple-Walnut pie. The first thing we did was added the bourbon. We got this idea after watching a cooking show where bourbon was included in a couple different ways into desserts. The pie was great but we couldn’t help comparing it to a pecan pie, so we knew that was the next upgrade for this recipe. We are in Texas after all, so the pecan is always our nut of choice when it’s an option.

Since I mentioned them above and they’re the inspiration for this recipe, here’s the shout out to our realtors, Doug Jacobs & Jeff Mikeska, who sold us our house 18 years ago and still send us their newsletters and calendars. The newsletter they sent back in 2016 had this recipe in the holiday section. Of course, it caught our attention and we had to try it. I’ll also add that they’re great guys that we highly recommend them if you need a realtor in Austin.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Pie Crust

  • 4 ounces of thin cut bacon strips
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of very cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Ingredients for the Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of dark maple syrup (grade B or 2)
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of bourbon (go for the good stuff here!)
  • 2 cups of pecans – crushed or halves

Instructions

Instructions for the Crust

NOTE: we usually don’t get as much bacon fat from the bacon used for this recipe as the original recipe calls for. Therefore, we usually use some bacon fat that we have left over from earlier. In case you’re wondering, yes, we have a little container like my Granny used to have where we collect bacon fat anytime we cook bacon. If you don’t have as much as the recipe calls for and you don’t have your own backup reserve, go ahead and substitute with additional shortening.

  1. Fry your bacon in a skillet on medium heat until the bacon is crisp (about 3 to 5 minutes). Transfer the fried bacon to a paper towel.
  2. Save 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan (you’ll put this into the filling), then measure the rest of the left over bacon fat and put it into a heat-safe measuring cup. Let the bacon fat cool for 10 minutes. Then add enough shortening so that you get a total volume of 6 tablespoons (this is also 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons).
  3. Pour flour into a bowl and add the bacon fat from the measuring cup, cutting it in with a fork until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
  4. Mix the 2 tablespoons of cold water and the vinegar and then add it to the flour mixture until it forms a soft, non-sticky dough. Form the dough into a ball, dust with flour and roll into an 11 inch circle. Place the dough in a pie plate.

If you want an easy method to roll out your pie dough, check out this method using a recycled plastic bag: How to roll out pie dough using a plastic bag or wax paper
Instructions for the Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Beat the eggs, maple syrup, sugars and vanilla extra into a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed. Mix in the reserved 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
  2. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and put the crumbled bacon into the bowl. Stir in the pecans until incorporated and pour into the pie crust.

Bake pie at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, until puffy and brown. There should only be a slight jiggle in the center of the pie when it’s finished cooking. Let pie cool before slicing.

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Simple Pie Crust (Pate Brisee)

It’s now two days before Thanksgiving, 2012. As usual, the paper has a story about pies so I am thinking, why not give it a try. We typically make a pie or two but we’ve always used pre-made pie crusts but the paper makes it sound so easy. There are only 5 ingredients and you mix them together in blender. They make it sound like it’s something you could do in your sleep so how hard could it be? I guess we’ll find out in a couple days! My dough is currently resting in the refrigerator because I’m not making the pie until tomorrow (that’ll be a separate post).

This recipe is actually a pate brisee and is very similar to the one I made for the chicken pot pies so I’m thinking this should be a snap.

Ingredients

  • 1.25 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (sea or kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup chilled, unsalted butter cut into on-inch cubes (1 stick)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice-cold water
  • extra flour for the work surface

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of your food processor to combine them. Then, add the butter and process them until it resembles coarse meal. This is only about 10 seconds. Now, slowly add the ice water and process until the dough just holds together. This should take no longer than 30 seconds.

Now that you have the dough made, empty it onto your floured work surface. You can add a small amount of ice water if the dough isn’t staying together. I added a little, but that’s just because I wasn’t sure if it was holding together enough. I’m sure with more practice, I’ll get it down.

Now, form a flattened disk with the dough – but don’t overwork the dough. By the way, I don’t know what that means, so I just tried not to handle it too much. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Pate Brisee

This recipe is for our Chicken Potpie in a pumpkin. Although, I have an idea that I can use it in many other recipes.

If you google this recipe, you’ll find many variation, and to be honest, we tweak ours every year just to keep it interesting. This year is the first time I actually made the pate brisee. We’ve always used frozen pie crust in the past and it works just fine. This year we forgot to pick it up from the grocery store so I decided to go for it since we have all the ingredients and it doesn’t look too hard. I made it last night and kept it in the refrigerator overnight.

The simple recipe for the covering is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

To start, make sure all your ingredients are cold. I even read online that you should rinse your hands in cold water. Put the flour, salt and thyme leaves in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pieces of butter, pulse for approximately 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Use the feed tube to add the ice water, drop by drop, until the dough just holds together without being wet or sticky; do not process more than 30 seconds. Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add a bit more water. Divide the dough in half, and shape into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate to chill for at least 1 hour. I prepared mine last night and it was very good today. If you have any dough left over, wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and save it in the freezer to use it later.

If you are going to use this for a pie crust, substitute the 1 teaspoon of salt for 1 teaspoon of white sugar and leave out the thyme leaves.