Sunday, November 13, 2016

{Gluten-Free} Brown Buttter-Espresso Pecan Pie for Aunt Pia's Party

A couple of weeks ago, the latest issue of Food & Wine arrived in my mailbox. On the cover was a pie; the description read: "This recipe with ruin you for every other pecan pie. Find out why on [page]...." Okay. I'm intrigued. Pecan pie is one of my favorites. Here's the recipe from their website: here.

But days went by and eventually, the boys asked, "What about that pie?" 

What pie? 

"The pie that will ruin us for all other pies." 

Oh, that pie.

Since I needed a dessert for a birthday party, I asked the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf if he'd make it for me while I worked on all the other dishes. He agreed. We made slight modifications: we made it gluten-free; we swapped out the corn syrup for bourbon maple syrup; we used instant coffee instead of instant espresso; we toasted the pecans on the stovetop instead of in the oven; and we added a vanilla salt. Otherwise, he stayed mostly true to the recipe.

After he made the first crust, Jake looked at it and asked, "What is everyone else going to eat?!?" So, D made a second pie.

Ingredients  makes one 9" pie
  • 1-1/4 C gluten-free flour
  • 1-1/2 t organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla salt
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick), cubed
  • cold water

  • 8 ounces raw pecan halves
  • 8 ounces Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 T brewed espresso
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
  • 1 C packed organic light brown sugar
  • 7/8 C bourbon maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 t instant coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 t vanilla salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • whipped cream or ice cream for serving


In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter cubes and pulse until chunks the size of small peas form. Pour in 1/4 cup of cold water and pulse, again, till the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and knead 2 to 3 times. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, then transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. 

Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or - we used - whole nuts in their shell. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove the paper and weights. Return to the oven and bake until the bottom is lightly browned, approximately another 10 minutes. Let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and make the filling.

In a small pan, cook the chopped dates in the brewed espresso until softened to a paste, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. 

In a dry skillet, cook the pecans over medium heat until they are fragrant and toasted, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the toasted nuts into a bowl and let cool. Wipe out the skillet and use it for the next step, too.

Add the butter to the pan and cook over medium heat, swirling, until the milk solids turn a deep golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, instant coffee powder, and salt. Whisk in the eggs, then slowly whisk in the brown butter until the filling is smooth.

Spread the espresso-date mixture over the bottom of the parbaked crust.

 Scatter the pecans on top of the espresso-date mixture, filling up the crust as much as possible.

Pour the filling over the pecans. Place in the oven and bake for 70 to 75 minutes - until the filling is set around the edge and slightly jiggly in the center. 

Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely.

To serve, slice and place on individual plates with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream

He was pretty proud of his pies. Aunt Pia approved. She said, "Yup! Best pecan pie I have ever had! Thanks!!" And Aunt Jenn wanted to order one for Thanksgiving. 

D answered, "I don't get paid for cooking. I just cook."

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