One of my favorite pie recipes from Sara Foster of the much-beloved market-cafes, Foster's Market in Durham and Chapel Hill, NC, is her Molasses-Bourbon Pecan Pie. I like it because adding molasses to a mostly traditional Southern pecan pie reminds me of the flavor-rich shoo-fly pies from my childhood. The bourbon is a not-so-subtle Southern twist, which is perfect for my holidays in Georgia. Here is the recipe excerpted from Sara's great book, Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen (Random House 2011). We shot it for the Thanksgiving issue for Better Homes & Gardens, too. Make sure to use Georgia pecans (hometown plug).
"I substitute molasses for corn syrup in this version of classic pecan pie. The filling is every bit as sticky as you'd expect, and the molasses and bourbon add a deep, almost smoky flavor," Sara says. If you prefer a milder molasses flavor, swap in light corn syrup for half the molasses.
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 3 T bourbon (optional)
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1 T pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 9-inch Everyday Piecrust, see recipe below*
Preheat oven to 350°F. For filling, in a large bowl stir together molasses, sugar, eggs, bourbon, butter, vanilla and salt. Evenly spread pecans in unbaked pie shell. Pour filling over pecans.
Place pie on center rack of oven, with a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below to catch any filling that bubbles over. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until firm around the edges and slightly loose in the center. Cool pie on wire rack several hours.
This recipe makes enough for two single-crust pies.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 T sugar 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 T cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 3 T ice water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 t white distilled vinegar
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender and working quickly to prevent butter from melting into flour, cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl combine ice water, beaten egg and vinegar; stir to mix. With a fork, mix egg mixture into flour mixture just until dough clumps together and is moist enough to pat together; do not overmix. If dough is dry and crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until dough comes together. Dough should not be wet or sticky.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, form dough in a ball. Divide dough in half; shape each half in a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
For basic pie shell, let dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll dough with dusted rolling pin to ¼- to ½-inch thickness. Fold dough in half or gently roll onto rolling pin; lift and transfer to pie tin. Lightly press dough onto bottom and sides of tin. Trim dough to 1 1⁄2 inches beyond edges of tin. Roll dough under to form a rim; crimp with fingers or tines of fork. Prick bottom crust two or three times with a fork. Wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
To prebake, preheat oven to 425°F. Line chilled pastry with double thickness of foil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake 6 to 8 minutes more or until golden. Cool. Make ahead, prepare and refrigerate up to 3 days ahead, or freeze pastry up to 3 months. Shells can be baked up to 3 days ahead, then stored, covered, at room temperature.