trains rumble in my head
as I breeze along and grumble
think about you instead
a piece of pecan pie
and you…that’s all I want
just a piece of pecan pie
and all I want is you
just a little whipped cream
and honey, I’m on my way
with a piece of pecan pie…
One of my favorite bands is Wilco. Tom and I just saw them again last week and, as always, it was a great show. As a result, I’ve been on a bit of a Wilco kick lately so I tried really, really hard to come up with a song of theirs to use for this event. Well, I got nowhere. I was about to throw in the towel and make something else (a good entry, still, but I wasn’t that excited about it), when it hit me. Golden Smog! Golden Smog is composed of members from various bands (including, depending on the time, Wilco, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks, The Replacements to name a few). I used to listen to Down by the Old Mainstream in college all the time (the album actually came out a couple years earlier, but I was late to the Golden Smog party). Anyhow, fast forward to my remembering the song “Pecan Pie,” by Golden Smog (written and sung by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) and you have…ta-da! My entry to Eat to the Beat. It helps that pecan pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts.
I adapted a recipe from Joy of Baking, based on what I had at home. I used light brown sugar and a mixture of corn syrup and molasses since I didn’t have any Lyle’s golden syrup (and figuring that extra molasses would give a little more oomph to the light brown sugar). This was delicious. So good. I love pecan pie and this is my first time making it. Actually, this is also my first time making a pie crust and this was a GOOD pie crust. Plus, so easy. I will never use a store-bought crust again.
I decided to make mini tarts and got 2 larger (maybe 4″) and 4 smaller (maybe 2.5″?) tartlettes out of the crust dough. I did roll it slightly thinner than I would have for the pie, but it worked out well.
adapted from Joy of Baking
Pate Brisee (short crust pastry)
1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1″ pieces
1/8 (or a little more) cup ice water
2/3 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (I used 1/2 cup corn syrup and 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp. unsulphered molasses)
1 Tbsp. rum or bourbon (I used bourbon)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 — 2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Maple Whipped Cream
1.5 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream
I also added a couple pinches of sugar
To make the crust:
Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the water in a steady stream while pulsing, adding just enough so that when you pinch the dough, it holds together. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather it into a ball. Flatten it into a disk, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30-60 minutes.
After that time, lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 13″ circle (if you are making a 9″ pan) or a little bigger if you are making individual tarts/pies. Give the dough a quarter turn frequently, so it doesn’t stick. Place the dough in a pie pan and brush off any extra flour and crimp the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 350 and place your rack on the lower third of your oven.
To make the filling:
Heat the brown sugar, syrup, bourbon and butter in a saucepan until it boils. Remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly, until tepid. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl. Mix in the eggs, salt and cream to the syrup mixture.
Put the pecans over the pie crust (or divide evenly between your mini pans), and then pour the syrup over them. Bake for 45-50 minutes (or about 30-35 minutes for the mini pies) or until the filling has set and a toothpick inserted comes out clear. Place on a wire rack to cool.
To make the maple whipped cream:
Whip the cream and maple syrup until soft peaks form. Add a little sugar (if desired) and whip until a little stiffer.