Well, maybe HUGE is a bit of an exaggeration, let’s say significant.
Molly Wizenberg is the author of the very popular Orangette blog. Reading her book “A Homemade Life”, made me rethink a couple of my most tried and true recipes. She writes about the food in her life with entertaining and sometimes touching stories to go along with the recipes.
Molly’s pecan pie recipe, called Hoosier Pie, is from her late Aunt Mia, who used to make it every year at Thanksgiving. Maybe it was reading about the recipes in context that made me ready to fiddle with some of mine.
Hoosier Pie is similar to a regular pecan pie except that it has bourbon and chocolate. I’ve always shunned adding chocolate to a pecan pie until now. That may not sound like a big deal, but I can’t even count how many pecan pies I’ve made over the years and I have NEVER used any recipe but this one - my mother’s.
I couldn’t deep-six my own pecan pie altogether, so I used my recipe and just added ½ cup of “good” chocolate chips at the bottom with the pecans. And I took away 2 tablespoons of the corn syrup and added in 2 tablespoons of bourbon.
How was it? I loved the flavor of the bourbon with the rich filling. I also liked having the bite of the chocolate chips, which were a nice contrast to the nuts. It was definitely runnier than my usual pecan pie, but maybe Molly’s recipe isn’t. Overall, I liked it a lot.
I will say, though, that the added richness was not needed after a Thanksgiving dinner and perhaps not even appreciated. BUT when I had a slice a couple days later, I really loved it. I’m not sure what the future holds for this recipe, since. I only make pecan pie at Thanksgiving. Maybe the first pecan pie served on the day will be the normal one. And the second one – made just for leftovers – will be the tarted-up one. Yup, I think that’s the way to go.
A Slightly Different Pecan Pie
(Inspired by Molly Wizenberg’s “Hoosier Pie”)
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups + 2 tbls. dark corn syrup
2 tbls. Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
2 tbls. plus 1 tsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecan halves (plus a few more)
1 9"-10" unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat eggs just until blended, but not frothy. Add sugar and corn syrup. Add cooled melted butter and vanilla, mixing just enough to blend.
Spread nuts in bottom in bottom of pie shell. Pour in filling. Fill gaps in with more pecans, so the top is completely covered. Place pie in oven.
Reduce heat to 325°F at once. Bake 50-60 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.
11/2 cups flour
6 tbls. unsalted butter
2 tbls. shortening (I use Crisco)
4 to 6 tbls. ICE water
Place flour in the food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until evenly incorporated. Add 3 tbls. ice water and process until mixed. Add another tablespoon of water and process just until mixture comes together. You may need a spoonful or more of water. Knead into a ball and roll out between sheet of plastic wrap. Line pie dish and crimp edge decoratively. Pie crust may be frozen after wrapping well. Thaw slightly before using.
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There was another recipe I was inspired to play around with after reading Molly’s book. Her banana bread recipe is preceded by a story about how she hated bananas as a child, but, thankfully, she outgrew that phase and came up with a wonderful banana bread inspired by several good friends, who are also good cooks.
Molly adds chocolate to this too AND chopped crystallized ginger. James Beard’s banana bread is my go-to recipe, (email me for it), but, again, I decided to take a leap and try something new.
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Again, I was delinquent with the picture taking. I don't have one new picture of my Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. But I took plenty of my Sour Cream Apple Pie, which never disappoints...at least not this year.