This is an all-time favourite winter dessert in our family. I love the mounds of leaves that fall, waiting for happy children to fly into and bury themselves in.
But despite that, at our place in winter, the pecan trees are forgiven because of the childhood memories they create of leaf stacks and warm pecan pie and a dollop of whipped vanilla cream. If you like, substitute maple syrup for traditional dark corn syrup. You may also like to try walnuts or macadamias for something different instead of pecans.
1 quantity of Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup (180ml/6fl oz) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (40ml/1.fl oz) lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
2 cups (500g/17.oz) pecans, chopped
1 Preheat oven to 180C (350F/ Gas Mark 4). Prepare pastry.
2 Beat all the ingredients together, except the nuts, until light and fluffy. Set aside. Take the crushed nuts and distribute evenly in the pie shell.
3 Now pour filling into baked piecrust and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean when placed in the centre of the pie.
4 Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes, before serving at room temperature with your preferred topping. Can also be served cold with ice cream, whipped cream or Cinnamon or Chantilly Cream (see Index in book).
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
You must follow this gorgeous recipe completely for it to work. It is wetter than most sweet shortcrusts when rolling out, so it is important to use the wax paper both underneath and on top. A beautiful, light, buttery pastry that you will long for.
150g (5oz) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
300g (10.oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 1/2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoons (30g/1oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar
1 In a large mixing bowl, rub butter and flour together until well combined and crumbly. In another bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cold water and egg yolk, lightly beat. Then beat in sugar. Add the egg mixture gradually to flour mixture until the dough is well combined. Do not over-work it, take your time, you will get better results this way.
2 Roll the pastry into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C (350F/Gas Mark 4).
3 Lay out sheet of baking paper on kitchen bench, remove plastic wrap and place another sheet of baking paper over the pastry and roll pastry until it is about 5mm (.in) thick. Now drape pastry over a 28cm (11in) tart tin with removable base, pressing gently into base and sides, trimming where necessary. Prick the pastry all over with a fork.
4 Freeze pastry for 2 minutes. Pull out of freezer and blind bake by placing some baking paper over the tart case and filling with dried beans, uncooked rice, coins or pastry weights to weigh down pastry so that it will not rise.
5 To blind bake, place a circle of baking paper, about 5cm (1in) larger than the base of the tart tin, over the pastry and fill with dried beans, uncooked rice, coins (or pennies, if any are still around) to weigh down the pastry so it will not rise.
Cook’s notes: If your tart base is a little soft, simply remove from oven and take pastry weights out, then bake for another 5 minutes or until pastry is a light gold in colour.