Thursday 15 March 2012

Ginger Bourbon Pecan Pie

As I swept this pie out of the oven and placed it upon the wire rack with a flourish, mum happened to walk by.

"Is that it?"

A few hours after her skeptical remark, she was softly moaning as she ate a thick slice. This is quite a pie.

Helen has been staying with us for the past few weeks. While peering over my shoulder at these pictures, she started crooning in a M&S voice.

"This is not just pecan pie....this is Poires au Chocolat Pecan Pie..."

(I have to note at this point - before you start thinking I've branded this pie - that the truly genius idea of adding three types of ginger and bourbon to a pecan pie is Allison Kave's, not mine. I did switch up a a few things but she definitely deserves a lot of credit for the recipe.)

The first time I made this I took it to Oxford. My friend Sam was having a birthday pub crawl. I carried it (along with a chocolate ganache tart) from 'spoons to the goth pub, from Far From the Madding Crowd to the Eagle & Child... and so on, from breakfast to supper time.

At that point we cracked open the bag and dug in, eating off napkins and spreading crumbs everywhere.

I learnt three things that day. One, though it did help it keep shape en route, pie dishes are pretty heavy. Two, due to the extremely chilly day, it was very cold when we ate this - it's much better slightly warm. Three, this is an absolute winner of a recipe.

You could serve it with a little scoop of ice cream (I tried a slice with some vanilla) but, to be honest, it's so good on its own that anything else - ice cream, cream, creme fraiche - only dilutes the flavour.

And so, in reply to my mum - yes, this is it.

It is punchy, deep and nuanced. It stands on its own. It is crunchy, silky smooth and flaky pastry all in one bite. It is softly sweet, spicy, nutty, fragrant and many other good things. It needs no more introduction...

Ginger Bourbon Pecan Pie
(Filling adapted from Allison Kave of First Prize Pies's recipe in Remedy Quarterly Issue 7, pastry adapted from Michel Roux's Pastry)

For the pastry:*
250g plain flour
1 tsp sea salt, finely ground
1 tsp caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cold water or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the filling:
200g pecans
100g dark brown sugar
80g light brown sugar
3 eggs
135ml maple syrup
2 tbsp bourbon
a globe of stem ginger, finely chopped + 1 tbsp of the syrup
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt

Sieve the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg, water/milk and vanilla together. Place the cubed butter into the flour bowl and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Add the egg mix in one go and mix with a knife. Pull together with your hands. Tip onto a surface and squish with the palm of your hand a few times to combine. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry into a big circle of about 3-4mm thickness. Lightly grease the pie dish then line with the pastry. Crimp the edges if you want. Don't prick the base. Return to the fridge to chill while you make the filling (or for up to 24 hours, wrapped in clingfilm).

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Tip the pecans onto a oven tray and place into the oven. Toast for a few minutes until they smell wonderful and look slightly darker. In a big bowl combine the sugars, eggs, maple syrup, bourbon, three types of ginger and salt together. Add the slightly cooled pecans and stir. Pour into the tart case.

Bake for 15 minutes at 220C/450F, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. You may need to cover the top of the pie with foil to stop it browning/burning too much. The pie will have risen and cracked but will fall and settle when it cools. Best served slightly warm.

(Serves 10-12)

*This recipe makes about a 1/3 more than you need. You could use it for another tart or - as it's not a sweet pastry - for a savoury recipe. Or you could run a lattice over the pie - but I would worry that it would stop the gorgeous crust forming.

Updated 31/08/15: cooking times.


  1. ABsolutely gorgeous!!!! I could so use a slice of this after the long weeks it's been. How completely delicious and beautiful.

  2. What was that? You want to post one of these to me in Cambridge? Tomorrow? Oh, OK then. If you insist.

  3. Oh I hate bourbon but this pie looks delicious I'll have to tweak with something else. Love the notion of the M&S voice. Most definitely "your" pie.

  4. Tara @ The Butter Dish - I wish I could send you a slice! Although...actually...not sure I want to share... ;) Glad you like it.

    Elly - Hahah! I think the postage from Switzerland might be a bit high, but I'll make you one at some point in the future!

    Domestic Executive - You can't specifically taste the bourbon - it's more for depth. But of course you can change it! I'd probably go for a bit more stem ginger syrup or maple syrup maybe even half/half with a tablespoon of water to help replicate the consistency. Maybe a dash of lemon to cut through.

  5. What an absolutely gorgeous combination of flavours! I've made (and loved) chocolate pecan pie in the past, but ginger and bourbon too? Yum! I need to try making this before the weather gets too warm as it sounds like it seriously packs a punch - that's my excuse to make it this weekend anyway :-)

  6. Your pastry looks lovely, and what I really enjoy is the alternating color and black and white photos. So effective...

  7. You got me with ginger and Bourbon. I'm going to make this. Soon. Tomorrow.

  8. This sounds absolutely wonderful. Just ordered Remedy Quarterly!! :) :) How exciting!!

  9. Emma, I wish I could have a slice of that pie for breakfast right now! Wouldn't that be good;)
    And thanks for the introduction to Remedy. I need to find a copy for myself.

  10. Emma, Your photos are beautiful and oh, that first black and white one of the pie sliver is the perfect composition. Really wonderful, and oh, do I dare to let this pie into my kitchen? Oh my!

  11. thelittleloaf - I've made chocolate pecan pie before too - so delicious. Though I think this one beats it! Hope you enjoy making it :)

    The Devil's Food Advocate - I'm so glad you like the alternating black and white - I know some people don't like the b&w so it's great to hear some positive feedback!

    Sally - My Custard Pie - I hope you enjoyed it! I'd love to know how it went :)

    Jolene - EverydayFoodie - It's delicious! I hope you try it.

    Maria - Oh I'm so glad - Remedy is wonderful!

    Erin @ yummy supper - Ooh I so nearly had a slice for breakfast the other day! So sorry for the delay in emailing you back, will reply asap :)

    art and lemons - I'm so touched that you like them, I really admire you photographic experience and work. I hope you do let this pie into your kitchen, it's worth it.

  12. Very interesting recipe, needs to be made! When I'd prebake the Pie-Crust, could I skip the first baking phase after assembling and just bake it for 20-25mins at 180°C ?

    1. I'm not sure, having never tried it, but it seems like a good idea. It might need a little longer to set - you'll probably need to cover the pie with foil to stop the edges burning at some point. I hope you like it!

    2. I made this Pie now and blindbaked the shell for approx 17 minutes and then baked the pie yesterday with the filling for 20 minutes. It didn't need any foil and just turned out beautifully. I have to say pecans aren't my thing but they are made for this pie or this pie is made for them. The ginger is the key here, definitely and with the brown sugars and maple syrup it's divine! Thank you so much for this recipe, I new from the start when I looked at this recipe that this would be awesome but it was in fact SO awesome, I'm overwhelmed!

    3. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! It's one of my favourites.


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