When you think about living a healthy lifestyle, dessert is one of the things you think you’ll have to learn to live without. Nothing is further from the truth; desserts can be made to be healthy and tasty – you just have to rethink how you make them.
A staple on the Southern table at any time of year, the pecan pie is definitely on the table during the holidays. This recipe is less sweet than the traditional one, and it adds a tang of bourbon as well. Making dessert from scratch ensures fresh, whole foods and no preservatives, and this automatically makes the dish healthier than one you buy. Enjoy this traditional Southern favorite with a little kick:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3 ½ ounces pecan halves or pieces
6 ounces King Arthur all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
½ Teaspoon fine Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons ice water
2 Tablespoons bourbon, chilled
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar or the equivalent amount of Stevia
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup (1 stick unsalted butter), melted
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ½ Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1 cup pecan halves
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 325° F
Freeze the butter for 15 minutes. While the butter is chilling, place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 6 to 7 times, or until finely ground. Add the 6 ounces of flour and the salt. Pulse 4 to 5 times to mix. When the butter is chilled, add it to the food processor and pulse 6 to 7 times, until the texture looks mealy. Remove the lid of the food processor; add the ice water and chilled bourbon. Pulse 5 to 6 times, until the mixture holds together when squeezed and it feels like dough. Open a gallon-sized zip-top bag and place the mixture inside. Close the bag and squeeze the contents together to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a round disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Assemble the filling while the dough is chilling.
In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar or Stevia, and eggs until creamy. Add the chopped pecans, melted butter, milk, flour, vanilla extract, sea salt, and bourbon and stir to combine.
Remove the zip-top bag from the refrigerator and cut down two sides. Unfold the bag and sprinkle flour on the top and bottom of the dough round. Fold the bag shut and roll out the round to an 11-inch circle. Unfold the bag and sprinkle the top with flour. Remove the dough from the bag and place in a 9 ½ to 10-inch tart pan. Gently press the dough down into the pan and into the sides. Trim and crimp the top edge.
Pour the filling into the pan. Arrange the pecan halves in a circle on top of the filling. Bake for 55 minutes. Check for doneness by lightly shaking the pan. The pie should be slightly jiggly in the center but set around the edge. Remove and cool; the pie will continue to set as it cools.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is adapted from ones by Alton Brown and Trisha Yearwood. The full recipes can be seen at the Food Network website.