Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spiced Maple Pecan Pie with Star Anise

I've been meaning to make this recipe for ages, so it seems somewhat appropriate that I finally get around to this when the blog is nearing its five year anniversary (how did that happen?). I really should've not waited this long to try this recipe and it really belongs on your holiday table. While I was making the syrup, I thought the anise might be a little overpowering, but once it was in the pie, it worked perfectly to add depth without being overpowering. I had some maple sugar leftover from a mystery guest at our wedding, so I substituted that for an extra maple boost and was not disappointed with the maple flavour in this pie. Finally, she recommends you can use cashews in place of pecans for the pie. I ended up using a three part of pecans, cashews, and pistachios which made for a nice variety of nuttiness. Really though, you likely can't go wrong with this one.

One year ago: Saffron-scented Lamb with an Almond Sauce
Two years ago: Buffalo, Mushroom, and Feta Meatballs
Three years ago: Saag Paneer
Four years ago: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Five years ago (seriously?): Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Spiced Maple Pecan Pie with Star Anise (from Cook This Now)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 to 5 tbsp ice water
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Demerara or raw sugar (or maple sugar!)
8 whole star anise
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp dark aged rum
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1. To make crust, pulse together flour and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse briefly. Add ice water a little bit at a time and pulse until moist enough to hold together. Form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll piecrust to 12" circle. Transfer to 9" pie plate. Fold and crimp (keeping in mind the dough will shrink).
3. Prick crust all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400F.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat bring maple, syrup, sugar, and star anise to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until very thick and reduces to about 1 cup, 15 - 20 minutes. If you decide to use a smaller, pot, be very careful it doesn't boil over! Remove from heat and let sit 1 hour.
6. Cover pie with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
8. Meanwhile, reduce heat to 325F. Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast 12 minutes. Let cool.
9. Remove star anise from syrup.
10. In medium bowl, whisk together, syrup, eggs, melted butter, rum, and salt. Fold in pecans.
11. Pour filling into crust and transfer to rimmed baking sheet.
12. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until pie is firm, but giggles slightly. Let cool before serving.

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