We’re all about wild game recipes, but even the greatest Venison, Elk, and Water Buffalo benefit from equally delectable sides and desserts. For hunter-gatherers living the outdoor lifestyle, those menus should feature the best natural ingredients, and this Fall-favorite Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie is no exception. It uses homemade pure maple syrup in place of store-bought corn syrup as well as Texas Pecans, home-rendered lard, and local Bourbon.
For what it’s worth, I brought the pecans used in this recipe back from a hunt in Texas. There are loads of pecan orchards down there, even on hunting ranches.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, dark brown preferred for the richer flavor
4 eggs, whisked (5 if they’re smaller farm fresh eggs)
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 scant shot bourbon
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pecans, whole (optional, if you wish to decorate the top of the pie)
One 9-inch pie crust. You can use a frozen, store-bought crust, but we make ours using an old family recipe and home-rendered lard.
Prepare the Pie Crust
Begin by blind-baking the chilled or frozen pie crust at 400-degrees for 15-minutes. Be sure to weigh it down with pie weights, dried beans, or the like to maintain its shape. While that is baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, with the goal to lightly brown the butter until you notice a light nutty flavor and slight color change.
Prep the Filling
With the pie crust pre-baked, lower the oven temp to 350-degrees and finish up the browned butter. When that is finished, the most difficult part is done because the filling is surprisingly simple. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and to that, add the remainder of the ingredients, mixing until fairly smooth. Throw in the chopped pecans last and blend them in as well.
The final step is to meld this filling mix with your browned butter. If the butter is still piping hot, it’s important not to simply dump it in and scramble the eggs, but rather, add it slowly while mixing.
Finish it up
That’s all there is to it! Pour the filling into your pre-baked pie shell and bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until set. If the crust is getting too brown, tent the entire pie with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking. The filling will naturally puff up as it nears completion, but it will drop back down again as it cools.
While you may think the recipe calls for lots of sugar, making the move from thicker corn syrup to thinner maple syrup requires adding a bit more brown sugar, and let’s face it, pecan pie is a delectable sweet treat. The result will be darker than normal filling, but the flavors are deeper and out of this world. Our only other suggestion is to double the recipe because this pie won’t last long.
Though it’s tempting to eat this baby hot out of the oven, it’s best to allow it to cool before serving. While most folks top their pecan pies with Cool Whip, banish the thought. It's super quick and easy to whip up—literally—some real heavy cream, which takes this already killer pie to the highest level. The rich American flavors bursting forth from this pie simply define the fall hunting and Thanksgiving seasons.