This Bourbon Pecan Pie starts with perfectly toasted pecans, combined with a creamed butter, maple syrup, and bourbon filling, then baked inside a buttery flaky crust. This pecan pie comes together without the use of corn syrup and is a unique twist on a true classic.
Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is one of those recipes you either really love, or really dislike. I'm assuming that if you are reading this recipe, then you are one of those people (aka the really awesome type) that really love pecan pie.
And while I too love pecan pie, I don't necessarily love the usual amount of sugar and ingredients called for in a traditional recipe. Most recipes use corn syrup and a lot of it, in addition to one cup of brown sugar. While I don't necessarily have a problem with corn syrup, when I first started developing this recipe I felt that the pies that used it lacked any depth of flavor. The pie was ok, but it just had one note to it: sweetness. So I turned to maple syrup instead of corn syrup, to add an extra level of depth to this pie. I really liked that version, but still felt like it needed just a bit more of something else. Cue the bourbon, which hits all the right notes. It cuts through the sweetness of the pie (with the help of a generous ½ teaspoon of kosher salt) and adds depth that makes this pecan pie truly sing.
The recipe is a bit different than traditional recipes because it calls for a unique method of preparation by creaming the butter and the sugar together. This special method is inspired by the Chef who mentored me when I first made my way into the restaurant cooking scene, Charlie Redd. He served his Oma's Pecan Pie recipe at his first restaurant, Redd's in Rozzie (which he since closed down). Creaming the butter and sugar creates a lovely texture for the pecans to hang out in.
So, let's get to making it, shall we? The text below offers tons of tips and helpful notes, or you can scroll to the bottom to grab the recipe and get started!
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- prepared pie crust (see note below on options)
- maple syrup
- bourbon (this is optional, and ok to leave out)
- dark brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
Does this Pie Taste Like Alcohol?
If you add the alcohol to it, it sure will! The recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon. If you really want the bourbon to shine, use two tablespoons. If you prefer the flavor to be more in the background, use one tablespoon.
Is it Safe for Kids / Pregnant Women to Eat?
The boiling point of alcohol is 173ºF. What that means is that when the filling reaches that temperature in the oven the alcohol will start to burn off. But that doesn't mean that by the time the pie is done baking that all the alcohol will have all been evaporated away.
To be on the safe side, I'd avoid serving this pie to anybody that cannot or does not want to consume any alcohol.
Maple Syrup in a Pecan Pie vs. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is a thick sweet syrup made from corn starch. In pecan pie, it serves a few purposes including sweetening the pie as well as thickening and stabilizing the filling. It works together with the eggs to create that thick, sweet filling that surrounds the pecans.
However, it does very little to add overall flavor, other than sweetness, especially the light corn syrup. Swapping the corn syrup in the recipe with maple syrup not only uses a less refined sugar (though to be clear, doing this doesn't necessarily make this any healthier, as sugar is sugar), but it adds a great depth of flavor to the pie.
Also, maple syrup is much thinner than corn syrup and doesn't have anything in it to help stabilize the mixture. To successfully swap these two sweeteners the recipe needs the addition of a thickener. That is why this recipe calls for two tablespoons of flour. The flour absorbs some of the liquid in the pie, helping to create a perfectly thickened maple-flavored filling.
Because the flour doesn't start doing its job until it's heated, you'll notice that when you are creaming together the butter/sugar/maple mixture, it will look broken or curdled. Don't fear, you've done nothing wrong. This is how it's supposed to look and it will bake up just fine!
Here is a list of some of the major tools I used in this recipe. You won't necessarily choose to use them all, but they are exactly what I used here. The links may contain affiliate links.
- food processor (to make the pie dough)
- electric mixer
- pie plate
- dried rice and beans / pie weights (for blind baking)
- rolling pin
- kitchen essentials: baking scale, bowls, measuring cups and measuring spoons
Bourbon Pecan Pie Crust Options
You'll only need one pie crust for this Pecan Pie, and most of the above recipes yield two. You can either halve the recipe or put the other pie crust in the freezer for a future pie.
If you are making a homemade pie crust, I always suggest making it ahead of time, by a day.
How to Make a Bourbon Pecan Pie
Here is the overview of the steps needed to make this pecan pie:
- make pie crust
- roll out and blind bake pie crust
- toast pecans
- cream together filling
The instructions call for blind baking the pie crust. While this is a bit untraditional in a pecan pie recipe, the filling is cooked at a lower temperature and the pie crust will not be able to cook properly without blind baking it.
Toasting the pecans is one of those fussy steps that are worth the effort. Toasting the nuts first before adding them to the filling essentially wakes up the flavor of the nuts by bringing the oil to the surface. It also crisps up the nut too, which improves the texture.
And, be sure to use room-temperature ingredients for this recipe. It helps ensure the filling comes together!
The pie is going to puff up during baking, so if you put any decorative design with pecans on top it might not be worth the effort. Instead, the instructions advise to sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the filling before baking.
How to Serve It
There is no doubt this pie needs to rest before you slice into it. When first baked, the pie will be too loose to slice. Let it rest for at least 2 hours.
Want to eat it warm? You still need to let it rest, and then once it's set up, you can place it back in the oven (or place an individual slice in a toaster oven) to briefly warm it back up. It'll only need a few minutes.
Serve as is, or with maple whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream for a pretty fabulous dessert.
How to Store Pecan Pie
This pie is best served within 3 days. To store it, leave it lightly covered at room temperature, for up to one day, or in the refrigerator for up to three. You can rewarm it in a 350ºF oven before serving.
More Pie Recipes with Nuts:
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This Bourbon Pecan Pie starts with perfectly toasted pecans, combined with a creamed butter, maple syrup and bourbon filling, then baked inside a buttery flaky crust. This pecan pie made without corn syrup is a unique twist on the classic.
- 1-9″ single pie crust, prepared preferably one day ahead
- 3 cups (280 grams) raw unsalted pecans
- 4 ounces (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup packed (150 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (240 grams) pure maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons bourbon (see note)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
Prepare the Pie Crust:
- Prepare the pie dough, preferably a day ahead of time.
- Roll out the pie dough to an 11″ circle and line a 9” pie plate with the pastry, crimping the edges as desired. Place in the freezer to firm up for 10-20 minutes, while the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and place one oven rack in the second to lowest spot and one in the middle.
- Line the pie dough with a parchment round piece of paper and then add pie weights to fill (such as dry rice, bean or lentils), making sure to push the pie weights to the edges. Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack, then remove from the oven and remove the parchment and pie weights. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the pastry is fully baked through.
- Meanwhile, place pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place them in the oven on the middle rack for 8 minutes, or until the pecans are fragrant. Remove and let cool.
- Lower the heat to 350º.
- Once cool enough to handle, chop the pecans roughly, saving a few whole pieces to add to the top of the pie.
- With an electric mixer, cream butter, salt, sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the flour until combined.
- With the mixer running on low speed, pour in the maple syrup and mix until fully combined.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. The mixture will likely look “broken” or “curdled” at this juncture but don’t worry, this is normal.
- Fold in two cups of the chopped pecans, and save the remainder (including any whole pieces) for the top of the pie.
- Transfer the filling into the baked pie crust and smooth over the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of pecans on the top of the filling.
- Bake on the middle rack until the filling is nearly set, with just a slight jiggle in the middle of the pie, about 45 minutes. If the crust is browning too quickly while baking, cover it with a pie shield or aluminum foil.
- Let the pecan pie cool for about 4 hours before slicing.
- Serve at room temperature with maple whipped cream or ice cream.
Have a question or looking for tips? The text written above the recipe is always a great first place to start! There are always loads of explanations, tips and technical advice shared before the recipe.
The recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons of bourbon. If you really want the bourbon to shine, use two tablespoons. If you prefer the flavor to be more in the background, use one tablespoon.
The boiling point of alcohol is 173ºF. What that means is that when the filling reaches that temperature the alcohol will start to burn off. But that doesn't mean that by the time the pie is done cooking, that all the alcohol will 100% have all been evaporated away. To be on the safe side, I'd avoid serving this pie to anybody that cannot or does not want to consume any alcohol.
Keywords: Bourbon Pecan Pie
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