Pecan Pie

I found this recipe in Chuck Hughes’s cookbook Garde-Manger. Despite the title, this is more of a sugar pie with decorative pecans. Sugar pies are a Quebec specialty very different from the pecan pies popular in the American South. This simple recipe showcases Quebec’s staple ingredient: maple syrup. Chuck’s mother is the author of the dessert menu at his restaurant Garde-Manger. This sweet dessert is described as “mom’s famous pie that started it all.” When the pie came out of the oven, the sugar had crystallized beautifully and the crust had turned golden. I refrigerated my pie overnight so that the filling would set. When I sliced into the pie the next day, the filling hadn’t firmed up enough. Maybe the recipe needs more thickening agent such as flour or corn starch. Or maybe I should have left it in the oven longer? It still tasted very good, but it didn’t have the desired consistency. I’ll try out other pecan pie recipes and see how they turn out.

I had the opportunity to meet the Iron Chef winner and star of “Chuck’s Day Off” at Appetite for Books last June. During the event, he talked about his newly released cookbook and future plans, all while doing a demo. He seems like a genuine, charismatic, funny guy. The tattooted chef (gotta love a guy whose ink shows his passion for lobsters and pie) dedicates his cookbook to everyone who’s ever cooked on the line or washed dishes. Refreshingly humble and unpretentious.

I managed to get a reservation at Garde-Manger in Old Montreal to celebrate father’s day. It’s got a really nice atmosphere with a great rock soundtrack playing in the background. The dishes were delicious (mainly seafood menu). As for the price, this is a restaurant for a very special occasion. A full meal doesn’t fit in my budget for a regular dinner out, but it’s still a great place if you just want to grab a cocktail.

pecan pie 3

Bon appétit!

Recipe adapted from Chuck Hughes (filling), and The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book (crust)

Yields 8 portions

1/3 cup ice water
3 tablespoons sour cream
12 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and frozen for 10 to 15 minutes
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup 35% cream
1 cup pecans, toasted

1) Combine the water and sour cream in a small bowl and set aside.
2) Blend the flour, sugar, and salt together in the food processor.
3) Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas, about 10 pulses.
4) Add half of the sour cream mixture into the food processor and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
5) Add the rest of the sour cream mixture into the food processor and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
6) This is a recipe for a double-crust, so divide the dough in two.
7) Flatten each half into a 4-inch disk.
8) Wrap one of the disks in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to two days, or you can freeze it for up to one month.
9) Wrap the other disk in plastic as well and let the dough firm up in the fridge for one hour.
10) Roll out the other disk onto a lightly floured surface. Place it in a 9-inch pie dish.
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Whisk the flour and sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
3) Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
4) Pour the maple syrup and cream into the large bowl and stir until incorporated.
5) Add the flour-sugar mixture to the large bowl and stir until combined.
6) Pour the filling into the 9-inch pie dish. I recommend either a glass or ceramic pie dish.
7) Place the pecans on top.
8) Bake for 40 minutes. The sugar has crystallized, the crust is golden brown, and the filling is still wobbly.
9) Let the pie cool before serving.

pecan pie 1

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