Pumpkin Pecan Pie with Whiskey Bourbon Sauce

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This is my favorite holiday pie. It was adapted from a Paul Prudhomme recipe by Chef Julie Sokolsky. I took her eighteen month Kitchen Academy for the Home Gourmet Cook program at The Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts (in Pasadena). I took pictures this year as I made it so I could share the recipe I so often get asked for.

Start the Crust

  • 3 C All purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C butter (2 sticks)
  • 6 – 8 T cold water

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add butter and incorporate, using fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over flour in tablespoon increments, stirring continuously with a fork.

Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for one hour.

Mise en place (A place for everything and everything in its place)

One of the most important things in cooking is to make sure you’ve got everything you need – and enough of it – before you start co-mingling. Of course, you can improvise and guesstimate but it’s a good idea to know what you’ve got to work with (and ideally, have enough of everything on hand – ready to go). This is often what prep cooks do – line up all the ingredients in their proper measurements (so you don’t accidentally forget something! Like having a part left over when working on mechanical things).

For the Pumpkin Filling (far left row):

  • 2 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 T granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten until frothy
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 2 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mix thoroughly and set aside.

For the Pecan Syrup (middle row):

  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C dark corn syrup
  • 4 Small eggs
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 t vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground cinnammon
  • 1 1/2 C pecan pieces

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mix thoroughly and set aside.

I buy a big bag of pecans halves at Costco and just grind them into pieces at home:

Assemble Pie: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9″ pie pan or an 8″ springform pan. Roll dough out on lightly floured work surface to 3/16″. Transfer dough to pan by either folding it into quarters, lifting and placing in pan or by laying it over a rolling pin, lifting and placing it into the pan. Gently press in place and trim edges (kitchen scissors are great for this). If using a pie pan, leave a little overhang to form crust with. Chill for 15 minutes.

NOTE: for Thanksgiving, I like to make Fall leaves with the left over pie crust.You can cut them with cookie cutters or freehand with a knife. Ball up foil underneath them on a cookie sheet and let them curl as they cook, then paint them with yellow and orange food coloring and it looks like the wind swept fallen leaves onto your pie. Very fun and festive.

Spoon pumpkin filling into pan, spreading evenly. Gently pour pecan syrup on top.

Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Cool and serve with whiskey sauce.

Whiskey Sauce (far right row above):

  • 8 T unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t very hot water
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C Bourbon Whiskey

You should never skimp on ingredients when cooking but a lot of people try to cut corners on booze in food. Don’t. It’s a huge mistake. The flavor is everything. I usually use Maker’s Mark but this time I tried Knob Creek, 9 years aged small batch. I actually think the less expensive Maker’s Mark had a more delicate flavor but I’ll keep experimenting. Maybe a bourbon whiskey expert can give me some good suggestions? 😉

Vanilla is another place you don’t want to skimp. Get a good one. Mexican vanillas are great.

Melt butter in double boiler set over gently simmering water. Beat sugar and egg in small bowl until blended. Temper egg mixture with a bit of melted butter then add egg mixture into butter. Add hot water and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (nappe) about 7 minutes. Remove from the double boiler and cool to room temperature. Stir in the cream and whiskey. Serve drizzled over pie.

I often make homemade whipped cream, too, to add to this!