With its deep dark syrup set in a custard base, the smoky bourbon and molasses bring flavor to the scent of toasted pecans in this iconic Bourbon Pecan Pie.
I was recently asked what the most popular sweet dessert in Louisiana is, and as usual, I began to complicate the answer with questions of my own. What region? What season? What culture? You see, the culinary landscape of our state is steeped in homegrown tradition based on history, culture, and sourcing of ingredients.
Acadiana regional recipes for sweet dough hand pies are handed down from generations of Creole cooks and the gateau sirop (syrup cake) from Cajun cooks. Over in Tangipahoa Parish, strawberry growers abound, and you’ll find strawberry shortcakes on the table. In north Louisiana, Ruston peaches are baked in cobblers. And in New Orleans, Creole bread pudding and sugary pralines are the ticket.
But if I had to name the one sweet treat that defines Louisiana, it is the pecan pie. With universal acceptance, pecan pie graces the dinner table of almost every Louisiana home at some point in the year. And you’ll find it on mine quite often. Louisiana pecans are heralded far and wide, and this Certified Louisiana crop grows in pecan orchards throughout the state. Supported by the good folks at the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, I urge everyone to seek out and buy Louisiana pecans.
In my recipe, I cut to the chase with a store-bought, prepared piecrust. I know. I know. All you pastry wizards out there will scoff at my shortcut, but I would rather spend my time eating pie than rolling dough. Plus, my Cajun recipe has a touch of Steen’s sugarcane molasses on the ingredient list. And I’m adding bourbon for the smoky flavor it brings, not for the alcohol (it burns off).
Give this ever-popular Louisiana dessert a try.
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon sugarcane molasses
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ½ cups Louisiana pecan halves
- 1 (9-inch) prepared piecrust, in aluminum pie pan
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
- In a pot over medium-high heat, add the syrup, molasses, sugar, brown sugar, and bourbon. Whisk together, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, butter, cornstarch, and whisk together. While continuously whisking, slowly add the hot syrup mixture.
- Add the pecan halves and incorporate. Let the filling cool to room temperature.
- On a baking tray, place the aluminum pie pan containing the piecrust, add the filling, and bake until the filling is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
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