Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Butter Pecan Custard Pie (or, a Favorite Ice Cream Without the "Ice" Part)

Butter. Pecan. Custard. Pie. That is all I have to say. 

Did you ever want your favorite flavor of ice cream, but figured the season was just too cold to mess with a frozen dessert?

Me, neither.

But when I told my friends and family I wanted butter pecan ice cream, I got the old familiar looks ("Have you checked your meds, dear?"). Needless to say, I had to find a way to get away with it, and gather support for my efforts, to boot.

Enter Pop and the Friday Supper Group. This is not an organized club, or anything. It's just that our best friends come over nearly every Friday evening for a meal and decompression at the end of their very busy week. And, most Fridays, they bring a pie, as their contribution to the repast.

Well, this time, I finally got myself ready ahead of time and let them know we planned an easy meal (The Bat fixed a big pot of chili & I started a smaller pot of chicken soup, because...well, winter). This meant no reason for guilt about not bringing something to the party, which, in turn, meant I had the good excuse to provide one of my own desserts, so that I would not be shoveling pie all by my lonesome... that would undermine my year-long efforts to drop some of my excess poundage.

Long story short [too late!], I got to make a butter pecan pie, and share it with others. Merry Christmas!

It's totally gluten-free, but beyond that, it's outrageously naughty. I dug up one of the eggiest custard pie recipes I could find, and made sure it would accommodate fatty dairy products, as well (yes! real whipping cream! and butter galore!). 

The crust is nuts – literally. If you're going to make butter pecan pie, make it pecans all the way down.  

You will need a few basic pieces of equipment: a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides), a small-ish microwave-safe mixing bowl, a food processor (or a blender and a bit of patience and attention), a 9- or 10-inch pie pan, a stand mixer, a small (1 quart is a good size) saucepan, measuring cups and measuring spoons. If you use a smaller pie pan, you may also need a few greased custard cups and a water bath for them… this filling is abundant!

The nice thing about this pie is, you don't need to serve it with anything else, like ice cream, or whipped cream. But, if you feel as though you can't just serve a pie all by itself, it's perfectly acceptable to top it with fresh raspberries or some other fruit. Excess is nice, once in a great while. Nevertheless, the pie, on its own, is all one really requires in order to thoroughly misbehave.

But then, I feel that way about all pie.

I am, after all, my father's daughter.

Butter Pecan Custard Pie

Crust Ingredients: 

2 heaping cups pecan halves, divided
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon sweetener (optional)

Crust Directions: 
Preheat oven to 375º F

In a medium microwave-safe bowl or a medium-small saucepan, melt 2 Tablespoons butter. Stir the pecans into the butter, coating them completely. 

Spread pecans out to a single layer's depth in the jelly roll pan. Place on middle rack of oven for about 8-10 minutes, until you begin to smell the butter browning. Remove from oven, allow to cool in the pan. When it is cool to the touch, place the entire sheet into freezer, allow to chill for at least an hour.

Before removing nuts from freezer, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. 

Place 1 2/3 cups of those toasted pecans and (optional) sweetener in food processor and chop coarsely. Continue to chop, pouring in melted butter, chopping until it has the texture of coarse meal (you're not making nut butter, just a crust).

Remove from food processor bowl and press evenly into pie pan. Refrigerate until the custard filling is ready. 
Custard Filling Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Custard Filling Directions:
Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and cream to scald (hot enough to form tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan, but not to boil). Remove from heat, put butter in to melt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs well, one at a time. Gradually add in the sugar until it is well-mixed. Pour in milk/butter mixture and mix well. Then add in the vanilla. 

Place the crust-filled pie pan in a clean jelly-roll pan or, if you have it, a pie ring (one of those metal dinguses designed to catch overflow but not block heat from reaching the bottom of the pie), on the middle rack of the oven. Pour the custard filling into the crust until it is mostly filled, then scatter the remaining 1/3 cup of buttered pecans over the top of the custard before sliding the whole thing into the oven.

If you have extra filling, pour into custard cups in a water bath (a pan in which the cups sit with hot water at least halfway up the sides), and place alongside the pie. (You may wish to add a few of the reserved pecans to the custard cups, as well, but if you opt against it, you will have a nice, simple custard alongside the pie.)

Bake at 400º F for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 300º F and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. If you are also baking cups of custard, check them after 15 minutes by inserting a thin knife into the center of one. If the knife comes out clean, the custard is cooked, even though it may look jiggly. This same practice should be applied to checking the pie at the end of its 30 minutes. 

Remove from oven, cool on rack. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.

The last slice. Woe is me, for what will tomorrow bring?

No comments:

Post a Comment