A fall pie recipe that’s sweetened with maple syrup, kicked up with a splash of bourbon, and full of toasted walnut flavor.
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Maple Bourbon Walnut Pie is kind of my take on pecan pie. I love pecans but I really love walnuts. I think their earthy and slightly bitter flavor works so well in sweet dishes. Walnuts pair perfectly with maple syrup – one of the world’s best natural sweeteners. The bourbon in this pie amps all the other flavors up and a little hint of cinnamon sort of ties everything together. I made this pie as an experiment a few years ago when a family member asked if I could bring dessert for Thanksgiving dinner. It is now officially the most requested pie for Thanksgiving or any other holiday get-togethers. I don’t mind, though, because it really is one of my favorites. I mean, there’s bourbon in it – what could be wrong with that?
This recipe starts with a cup of chopped and toasted walnuts. You can use pre-chopped walnuts or just chop them yourself. Toasting the walnuts will release the oils and make them more flavorful overall. This makes a big difference in a recipe where walnuts are one of the main ingredients. Heat a small pan to medium low heat – I use a 6″ cast iron skillet that I affectionately refer to as my ‘nut pan’ – but any kind of pan will do. Once heated, add the walnuts and toast for 5-8 minutes. Stir the nuts often so they don’t burn. Burnt walnuts = no good. Once you can smell the walnut flavor, remove from heat and set aside.
Next up is the pie filling. This is a really simple recipe. In a mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients: 1 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar as well, but I love the rich flavor of the dark stuff), 3 eggs, 1 1/2 Tbsp. AP flour, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. bourbon (yeah, baby!), and 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Make sure the butter is ‘just melted’ and not scalding hot. Adding super hot butter to the mixture will scramble the eggs. Mix all of these ingredients until completely combined and then add the toasted walnuts. Fold the walnuts into the mixture.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. It is now time to pour the filling into a prepared pie crust. You can use store bought crust, of course, but there’s nothing like homemade pie crust. Check out last week’s blog post – How To Make Homemade Pie Crust – for the recipe I like to use. My pie crust recipe makes two 9″ crusts. This Maple Bourbon Walnut Pie makes one 9″ pie. You can either half the pie crust recipe and only make one crust or double this recipe and make two pies. ‘But, I only want one pie’ – said no one, ever.
Whether you end up halving the crust recipe or doubling the pie recipe, place your baked goods into an oven heated to 350 degrees. This pie bakes for 50-55 minutes. The top should be golden brown. The center should be set (you can test it by shaking the pie slightly). I like to keep a close eye on things as it reaches the 50 minute mark. Overcooking the pie will cause it to dry out.
After the pie has finished, remove and let cool. This pie is a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner. Watch out, your relatives might start requesting that you bring it to all the family holidays.
Or, you can can just enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee. I’ll leave that up to you.
Pottery by Bill Gossman. http://www.gossmanpottery.com/
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop walnuts and toast in small pan on stove top. Heat pan to medium-low and toast for 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.
- Fold in toasted walnuts.
- Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
- Place in oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the center should be set.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Make sure butter is not too hot and add slowly to the filling mixture. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling.