Monday, November 9, 2015

Walnut Pie. With or Without Booze.

I have never been a fan of pecan pie. I find them overly-sweet. And all that Karo syrup kind of grosses me out.

So when my department boss brought me a piece of walnut pie his wife had made, I was a bit nervous and hoped my disappointed expression would not be too obvious when I hesitantly ate my first forkful.

Trepidation turned into delight. This was not a "nut pie" in the usual sense. It was creamy and brown-sugary.

After a lot of begging, I was finally given the recipe (thanks, Emily!).

Custardy in the center. Not too sweet. And look at that top crust!

Unlike a pecan pie, the filling for this pie is more like a brown-sugar custard. With walnuts. One could just as easily use pecans, but I prefer the more pronounced flavor of the walnuts. On my to-do bake list is a pie with half black walnuts.

This recipe is quite versatile. One can easily sub the milk for rum, whiskey or maple syrup or a combination. I have used rum (3 tablespoons). The taste is easily obvious the day you make the pie. The following day it is more nuanced and mellow. Feel free to add a bit of cinnamon/nutmeg to the batter.

If I were having guests, I would make the pie as is but serve it with a side of rum or bourbon-flavored whipping cream.  If not, a scoop of vanilla ice cream goes great with this.

I used a store-bought pastry which made assembling this pie as easy as one-two-three! It disappears just as easily, too!

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick), cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple-pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I use evaporated milk)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 and 1/2 cups roughly cut walnuts

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry of your choice. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 300-degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs. Whisk in the butter, milk, flavorings and rum. Set aside for about ten minutes so the sugar is absorbed by the egg. I use an old-fashioned hand mixer, but a whisk is fine. Do not use an electric mixer. 

Fold in the nuts.

Pour into pastry shell and bake for about 65-70 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.