Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Date and Pecan Pie

Buoyed by my new found confidence in my pastry skills I thought I'd try making a hot water butter crust this week. I'm really becoming a fan of this method as it's very easy to make, forgiving to work with and still provides a lovely firm, but buttery base. I've decided this time to fill mine with dates and pecans, bound with maple syrup and cream. It's a classic combination but still has a massive wow factor, both in terms of presentation and flavour. There's just one thing you need to be careful of. I left my nuts and dates quite large and although tasty, the ones on top did catch more than I'd like. So if you give this one a try, just make sure everything is chopped up relatively small which will help it also bind with the maple mixture.

Prep time: 15 Mins
Baking time: 50 Mins
75g Unsalted Butter (Chopped into small cubes)
75ml Water
15g Light Muscovado Sugar
215g Plain Flour

200g Medjool Dates
200g Pecan Nuts
100ml Maple Syrup
100ml Single Cream
1 Medium Egg Yolk

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and lightly grease a 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tin. In a saucepan melt together the butter with the water on a medium heat and in a separate bowl sift in the flour. When the butter and water have melted together and are just coming to the boil pour them over the flour. Work them around with a wooden spoon for a minute or two (until cool enough to handle), then get your hands in and knead together to a smooth dough. Roll out on a clean surface (I didn't even need to flour mine) to a large disc and lift into the tin. Carefully press the dough into the edges until it fills the tin completely, overhanging by a few millimetres. You can break some off of one side to fill any gaps if it's slightly uneven in the tin.

Remove the stones from the dates and chop them up with the pecans. You can do this relatively roughly, as long as there are no massive chunks of either left. Mix them all together in a large bowl with the syrup, cream and egg yolk, then tip the whole lot into the pastry shell. Even the mixture out, then place in the centre of the oven for around 50 minutes, until the top is a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin until warm and firm to the touch on top. Delicately slide the pie out of the tin and serve either on it's own or with some cold cream or ice cream. You're all done. Easy as pie!

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