Give Thanks for Pie and Whiskey

A Twist on a Thanksgiving Classic
| Category: Food & Wine

What are Sasquatch staffers serving up at their Thanksgiving dinners? This Whiskey Maple Pecan Pie from Kate Lebo’s Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter is the winner by a mile. Die-hard pecan pie fans will be won over by Kate Lebo’s use of more natural sugars instead of Karo syrup, plus the sweet addition of whiskey and maple syrup. Combined with Kate’s award-winning All-Butter Crust, this pie will be a new Thanksgiving favorite.

Whiskey Maple Pecan Pie

Makes 1 pie

½ recipe All-Butter Crust, for a single crust (recipe follows)
3 large eggs
¾ cup maple syrup
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons rye whiskey
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves

1. Make the dough and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in a 9-inch pie plate. Tuck the crust into the plate, trim the edges, and fold them into a ridge. Freeze the crust while you prepare the next steps of the recipe.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer until frothy. Stir in the maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, vinegar, whiskey, and salt. Mix in the pecans. Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the surface with a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the crust is golden and the center remains firm when gently shaken.

4. Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5. Store leftovers on the kitchen counter loosely wrapped in a towel for up to 3 days.

All-Butter Crust

Makes 1 double crust

2½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.

3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.

4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about ⅓ to ½ cup water.)

5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.

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