Flaky Pie Crust
- 2-½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
- ½ cup icy cold water
Yield: One 9-inch pie crust for this pie, plus one for the freezer
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tbsp. (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. bourbon
- 1-½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup walnut halves
Here’s a dessert that’s pretty easy, yet fancy enough for special occasions, such as the upcoming fall and winter celebrations. You can substitute different nuts or a combination. For a vegan version, use palm kernel shortening or Miyoko’s vegan butter. Coconut oil melts at too low a temperature for the crust, so skip that.
You can mix the crust the day before and let it rest overnight in the fridge, or you can make it a week ahead and freeze it.
Directions for the Crust
- Work swiftly to prevent the butter from warming up.
- Make sure all your ingredients are well chilled.
- It’s best to make your pie crust a day ahead and let it rest and chill in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the gluten to relax and the flour to fully hydrate (absorb) the water.
- In a large, wide bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. If possible, put the bowl in the freezer or refrigerator to chill while you prepare the butter.
- Cut the butter into medium-sized chunks. If the butter warms, return it to the refrigerator to re-chill.
- Scatter the butter over the flour mixture and toss the butter around to coat it with flour. Using your fingers, two forks, or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the butter chunks are the size of peas — some tiny, some larger. If your butter warms or time allows, put the bowl back in the freezer or fridge to re-chill for 5-10 minutes.
- Drizzle the water over the pie crust and stir with a spatula until it just begins to come together; it will look like a rough, shaggy mess. Knead gently with your hands — either in the bowl if it’s large enough or on the table — until it comes together.
- Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour or preferably overnight. It can be frozen now and will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before proceeding.
Directions for the Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, bourbon, flour, vanilla, and salt in large bowl to blend. Mix in all walnuts.
- Do not warm up your pie dough by letting it sit before rolling. Flour your work surface and the rolling pin. Place the dough in the center of the flour and whack it a few times with the side of your rolling pin. Turn over the dough, rotate it 180°, and whack it again a few times; this loosens the dough and prepares it for rolling.
- Add some flour on top and begin rolling out the dough. Roll across once or twice and then rotate it a quarter turn. Roll again once or twice and rotate another quarter turn. Proceed in this fashion until the crust is the right-size diameter for your pie tin. If the crust sticks, use a knife or spatula to loosen the dough and lift it gently.
- Toss some flour underneath, lower the dough, and continue rolling. If the butter gets soft, slide the dough onto the back of a cookie sheet and chill it in the freezer for five minutes before proceeding. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold the edges under and crimp decoratively.
- Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake until crust is golden and filling is set in center when pie is shaken slightly, about 55 minutes. Cool pie completely in pan on rack.
- Top with whipped cream, ice cream, or for a less sweet dessert, crème fraîche.