In my present apartment, there is a small cupboard next to the kitchen window, with a cracked rubber seal around the door and louvers opening the back to the outside - a poor fridge, but an ideal pie cooler. This discovery has, in the past year or so, bred in me a nagging infatuation with baking pies. Beginning with green apple pies in storebought crusts, I slowly progressed to peach pies in hand-made crusts, berry pies under lattice crusts, lemon meringue, pumpkin, pecan, and so on.
Lately I have begun experimenting with simplistic pairings of fruits. Coming off a parade of "tropical" pies for this past month - combinatorics of peach, plum, apricot, and pear - this week I have dropped stone fruit altogether and made a couple pecan pies, rummy and non. Yesterday it struck me to use dates in addition to pecans - I tried it out, only to have the pie consumed before I could get any pictures.
- 4 eggs
- 1 C dark brown sugar
- 3/4 C light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 C melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-2 Tbsp rum
- 1 1/2 C chopped pecans
- 1/2 C dates (about 6-8), pitted and quartered
- 1 crust for a 9" pan (see below)
- 20-25 uncut pecans for garnish
- 1 1/4 C flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
- 3 Tbsp shortening
- ~2 Tbsp water
To prepare the crust, sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and salt. Add the butter and shortening and knead it into the dough until you no longer feel large lumps. Cut the mixture with two knives until it resembles coarse meal. Add the water a little at a time, tossing it into the dough with a fork, adding just enough that the dough begins to clump. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and flatten into a thick pancake. Refrigerate one half-hour.
(I used a frozen crust I made a couple days ago, thawing it in the fridge while I run to the supermarket.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the crust and lay it in a 9" pie tin. Fold the edge under itself and flute with your thumbs.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, syrup, salt, butter, vanilla, rum. Make sure the butter is not too hot when you add it or the eggs will scramble!
Evenly dump the chopped pecans into the pie crust. Distribute the quartered dates similarly.
Pour the syrup mixture over the pecans.
Arrange the extra pecans on top in a charming rosette, bumpy side up.
Bake for 10 minutes @ 400. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 25-30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let cool about an hour and consume.
I solicit any recommendations for what to make next.