Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Inspired by a similar recipe on Gourmet Traveller and wanting to use up the maple syrup leftover from my "vegetarian roast" (recipe to come) I decided that over the weekend I would try making a pie. Now, I've never baked a pie or even made pastry dough before. So, for a virgin pie-maker, it was a fairly ambitious escapade. Here's why: making a decent dough is something that comes with a lot of practice, a lot of trial/error and (deep breath) a lot of patience. You will swear lots, possibly cry and consider throwing in the towel a number of times. Don't - perseverance pays off, and no matter how munted or lopsided the pie looks, it'll taste great, trust me! 

The Gastronomically Challenged Guide to Pecan and Maple Pie

4 eggs
150gm brown sugar
150gm chopped up pecans
200ml real maple syrup (no "maple flavoured' imitations)
60gm melted butter
about 1/3 cup flour
20ml Cointreau
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup of plain flour (sifted)
1/3 cup brown sugar
90gm cold butter
1 egg yolk
1 tsp sea salt

There's four steps to master: making the pastry, rolling it out, blind baking and filling.

Step one: process the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until fine crumbs form. Add the egg yolk - at this point I felt that the dough was a bit dry so I added a splash of water to help it form. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and form into a disc. I left it wrapped in plastic in the fridge overnight (apparently its OK to store this way for up to 3 days.) Otherwise let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before baking.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease a pie dish or tart tin with oil. Roll out the pastry - Gourmet Traveller suggested 3mm as a guideline. I kind of ignored this and rolled it to my own specifications. Big mistake. The pastry was WAY too thick.
You can either to roll it out on a floured surface or between sheets of cling wrap (which stops the roller from sticking). Typically,  my dough stuck to the cling film instead, but I managed to get it in the dish in (more or less) one piece. Trim any excess from the edges.
**NB: Put it back in the fridge to chill while making the filling. The last thing you want happening is for the butter to melt.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl, then whisk in the maple syrup, melted butter, flour, Cointreau, spices and vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Stir in the pecans - now your filling is ready to go. 

Remember how earlier I stressed the importance of paper-thin dough? The next stage, blind baking, means you pre-bake the crust to a hard, crispy shell before adding the filling. To blind bake you need baking paper and some weights. Naturally the weights will prevent the pastry from rising. Pie weights (ceramic balls that serve literally no other purpose) are sold by most kitchenware suppliers but dry rice/beans work just fine. Make sure you put a circle of baking paper between the pastry and the weights.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is a light golden colour, then remove the weights and bake for a further 8-10 minutes.
Unfortunately for me, carelessness = partially cooked/partially raw dough :(. My pastry looked like this post-blind baking (after I literally landscaped out the chunky, uneven parts with a knife.) 
Reduce the oven to 160 degrees. Pour the filling into the pastry case. Bake at 160 degrees for 40 minutes until golden and set. Cool the pie (preferably on a window sill) and enjoy.

We ate the whole thing. 


  1. love your writing. chill your pie (preferable on a window sill) - LAWLZ
    love the last pic - we ate the whole thing.
    it looks tasty! shame about the too-thick pastry but live and learn!!

    1. the next attempt will be better! actually was thinking of doing mini tarts next time - need to buy some loose bottom tart tins