One of the things I learned after moving aboard was how much EW loves it when I cook. I'm not sure how I missed that message during the first 16 years of our married life, but I've got it now.
We started buying a cookbook when we traveled to someplace interesting, (a practice that will get too unwieldy on the world cruise). One of our favorites is Texas Home Cooking by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. One of EW's favorite recipes from the book is "Perfect Pecan Pie" a recipe the authors say was influenced by John Thorne.
I make it every year for Thanksgiving. (One year I made two so we would have one to eat. That story can be found here.)
Here is the recipe:
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Cane Syrup (or 1/3 Cup light corn syrup and 1/3 cup Unsulphured Dark Molasses) I Find Cane Syrup in specialty or gourmet stores or on the web.
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
3 Tablespoons Bourbon
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2-3 Tablespoons Half-and-Half
2 Generous Cups Pecan Pieces
Unbaked Single Pie Crust
Whole Pecan Halves
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the brown sugar, syrup, and butter together with the bourbon, vanilla and salt. Continue heating the mixture to the boiling point, stirring frequently. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half until they are light and frothy. (I am so not a chef and don't know why the recipe was vague on amount of half-and-half. I use 3 tablespoons.) Add the mixture to the cooled syrup, beating until the mixture is well incorporated. Stir in the pecan pieces. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Top with a layer of pecan halves. (I make a nice spiral design, totally covering the pie filling with pecan halves. It is one of the few times I focus on "presentation" when cooking. I am so not a chef!)
Bake the pie 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve the pie warm or at room temperature. The Texas book says that if you store unshelled nuts in a cool, dry place they will keep for a year. Once I thought we would have fun if I purchased pecans in the shells and we shelled them ourselves. EW and Favorite did not have fun. I was forbidden to do that ever again. So much for authenticity.
When I make this year's pie, I will post photos here. Really.