It's time for pie! The leaves are starting to turn. Nights require a jacket. I adore fall. I have been craving some pecan pie lately, and I finally caved in...with a couple twists.
I wanted to try out a recipe that doesn't rely on corn syrup. I literally only buy corn syrup for pecan pie, so it would be nice to permanently scratch that off the grocery list. A bit of history for my fellow food nerds: The wife of the owner of Karo corn syrup was the first to publish what we all know as pecan pie. Corn syrup originally was not very popular. It was a newer product when most people were used to regular cane sugar. As an incentive, they began printing her recipe on the back of the bottle. It caught on so well that I have never made, seen, or purchased a corn syrup free pecan pie. Until today that is. There are variations, but that's the general legend. History lesson over.
I also wanted to try out a different pie crust. My regular is just fine, but variety is the spice of life. I recently read an article on pie in Mother Earth News in which they discuss using whole wheat flour. I thought the nuttiness from the wheat might pair well with this savory and sweet filling. There has been a huge focus on pork products lately, especially lard and bacon. Now, bacon I'm familiar with, but until recently lard had been reserved for savory dishes, not dessert. Ever the bull-headed rebel, I had to try it. Don't worry; it's not a mess of grease. In fact, there isn't a “PORK!” flavor like one would expect. It's just a hint.
This pie filling is awesome. I have done bacon pecan pie before, but I have never used the fat in the pie and the crust! It works so well. The crust is layered perfectly and solid yet delicate. I really think the whole wheat balances the sweetness of the filling, and the salty, smoky bacon just sings. Of course, this is a rare treat. RARE TREAT. Please do not include this in your regular diet. I will not be held responsible for heart disease or diabetes. Maybe you should eat this while on the treadmill just to be safe.
Onto the yumminess!
- Combine 1 ½ cups AP flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour, and a pinch of salt.
- Cut or pinch in 3oz cold butter and 3 oz lard. You can use a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers. It is ready when it looks like wet sand and clumps inside your fist.
- Sprinkle 1 Tbsp vinegar and approximately 3 Tbsp iced water. You want the dough to hold together but still be stiff and not sticky. It's best to have to add more water than flour, so go easy.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Roll on a floured surface.
- Form and crimp edges. If you are not using the crust immediately, just toss it in the fridge.
- Combine 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp AP flour, 1 tsp vanilla, a pinch of salt, ¼ cup melted butter, and ¼ cup melted lard. *Make sure your fats are cooled, so the eggs don't cook next!
- Stir in 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp milk.
- Fold in 1 cup pecans and ½ pound crisp, crumbled bacon.
- Pour into pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then about 35 minutes at 350. Pie is done when the edges are puffed but the center is still jiggly like jello.
- Cool for at least half an hour before cutting. Excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream and strong coffee.