Alternate titles for this pie: Golden-Bourbon-Walnut-Pecan-Molasses-Pie or Double Nut Pie. The first seemed a little wordy, the second a lot awkward. I went with Bourbon Walnut Pecan Pie because it hits all the important points without getting weird. I know there are about 1.24 billion recipes for pecan pie on the internets, but I’m throwing this version into the mess because it’s basically the one that gets requested every year by my family. So, why not?
Usually, I don’t add walnuts to our Thanksgiving pecan pie. I won’t be next week because there are some purists in our bunch that just want the standard, and I’ve already messed with it a bit without getting caught (subbing corn syrup for a mixture of golden syrup and molasses) so I’m not going to push my luck. But for the pie pre-game I thought I’d make a version that mixed in some bitter walnuts to cut the sweetness–because if pecan pie is anything, it is sweet. The molasses also helps to dial down the sweetness, it lends another bitter note that works so well with the almost mineral flavor of the golden syrup. I’ve made this pie in the past with just golden syrup and it was knock-your-teeth-out sweet, which was actually appreciated by a few people, but I just thought it was too much. I actually don’t have anything against corn syrup except that it’s not all that flavorful, where golden syrup and molasses both have unique flavors. The whipped cream for this pie has a few dashes of black walnut bitters, which was a total revelation. I’m sure you could sub in aromatic bitters (or chocolate!) if that’s what you have, or forgo them all together. Oh, and there’s a bit of bourbon in the pie…because, bourbon.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes and chilled
- 2-4 tablespoons ice cold water
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1¼ cup golden syrup
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup coarsely chopped, plus about ½ cup whole pecans for the top
- Egg Wash:
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4-8 dashes black walnut bitters
- Make the crust by quickly pulsing the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor to combine. Pulse in the chilled butter until there are some small pieces and some pieces about the size of peas. With the food processor turned on, pour a few tablespoons of ice cold water at a time, just until the dough comes together. It shouldn't be wet, but just moist enough to hold together when pinched between two fingers. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather it, pressing into a disk. Cover with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes (you can make this several days in advance and keep, wrapped well in the freezer.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out into a large circle, no thicker than ¼ inch. Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving about 1 inch of excess hanging over the edge and trimming the rest. Fold the overhanging dough underneath the dough in the pan, to create a double-thick rim. Crimp the dough and place pan in the refrigerator. Gather the trimmed scraps of dough and roll out again, using a cookie cutter cut out shapes to decorate the top (if you want). Place the cut-outs on a flour dusted plate in the freezer.
- Make the filling in a large mixing bowl by beating the brown sugar, golden syrup, molasses, eggs, bourbon, and melted butter together until combined. Fold in the chopped nuts and pour into the chilled pie crust. Whisk the egg and milk for the egg wash. Carefully place the cut-outs of pie dough on the top of the filling and edges of the crust. Gently brush with the egg wash and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the pie is set. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
- Whip the cream using a hand mixer (or a whisk!) until soft peaks form. Whisk in the sugar and a few dashes of bitters, continue whisking to medium-soft peaks. Serve generous dollops on top of each slice of pie.
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