A Little Spice on FF* – R. Jehn

Pecan Pie (28 August 2000)

If you have read the book Sweet Heat, you will understand this peculiar recipe. It is excellent when served with Dreyer’s Hot Chilly Chili or Out of a Flower, Inc.’s Jalapeño Mexican Vanilla Bean ice cream. Have a cool mocha or something similar to accompany it.

I used some ideas from the Joy of Cooking and another local Louisiana cookbook (The Louisiana Proud Collection of Home Cooking), but they both used this Karo corn syrup thing which had no appeal to me. So here is what I did:

5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon chile morita powder (or chipotle powder)
A couple of tablespoons bottled water (optional)
1-1/2 cups fresh pecans

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly roast the pecans for 10 to 12 minutes, just until you detect the wonderful aroma. [I also will “blind-bake” (see note * below) the crust if I am using one of my homemade crusts at the same time.]

In the meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, honey, vanilla, molasses, and chile powder together very thoroughly ensuring that the sugar is completely dissolved (if you are using very thick honey, then add water to thin it). Last, add the beaten eggs and thoroughly mix the honey mixture into them, then fold the cooled pecans into the mixture.

For this one, I used a store-bought 9-inch frozen pie crust (I thawed it first), poured the egg / pecan mixture into it, and baked it at 350° F. for 35 to 40 minutes. I tested using a toothpick (it should come out of the filling clean).

Do NOT use “chili powder” from your local grocery – it would contain cumin, oregano, salt, and perhaps other things. You could substitute cayenne chile powder, but perhaps only a 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon as it is spicier than morita. The key difference to understand is that chipotles and moritas are smoked chiles, while cayenne chiles are simply dried then ground to the fine powder that we buy at the store.

* Note: To blind-bake a crust, spread parchment paper into the bottom of the crust in the pie plate, add dried beans evenly into the bottom to weigh it down (bean layer should be 1/2-inch thick), and bake at 400° F. for 8 to 10 minutes.

* Note: FF = Foodie Friday

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