Here’s the recipe I mailed off the the NC State Fair today! In a taste test between the pie and some cupcakes I made with similar ingredients, the vote was split, 11 to 10, so I wound up submitting them both. I’ll let you all know how it goes. In the meantime, try the pie recipe and let me know how it works for you – it’s the first time I’ve ever written my own recipes, and I found the process to be both challenging and fun! Photos still to come…
Quintessential “Autumn in NC” Pie
I developed this recipe to include as many pecans and other seasonal (fall) NC grown ingredients as possible. Every ingredient with a star beside it is one that I was able to find at my local farmer’s market!
1 c pecans*
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour*
3 oz cold butter (cut into small chunks)*
1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
3 1/2 tbsp ice water
Grind pecans and sugar together in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and salt; mix by hand until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add in pecan mixture and ice water. Mix by hand until just mixed together.
Press dough into an ungreased pie plate and up sides to form crust. Prick with fork; refrigerate while you candy the pecans (see below). You can also freeze the crust for a few weeks before baking it, if you want to make it ahead of time.
When ready to bake crust: line it with tinfoil and rice or baker’s beans. Bake at 425 F for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 4 minutes.
Honeyed Pecan Topping
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp wildflower honey*
1 oz butter*
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c pecan halves*
Have a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil ready and nearby. Stir sugar, honey, butter and salt together in a skillet over medium low heat until they melt and bubble. Add in the pecans. Stir regularly as you cook, for about 10 minutes – the syrup should take on a deep caramel color. Pour out onto cookie sheet and VERY QUICKLY separate the pecans with your spatula so they’re not touching. Let cool. Once cooled they’ll pop right off the foil. (These can be made a few days ahead if you store them in a sealed container) You can grind these to get a crunchy topping or use them whole on top of the pie.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
1/4 c lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temp and lightly beaten*
3/4 c pumpkin puree*
3 tbsp wildflower honey*
8 oz cream or spreadable mild cheese (I used Chapel Hill Creamery’s Quark cheese)*
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar, mix. Add eggs and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Assembly and Baking
Pour filling into prebaked crust and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle candied pecans over pie. Return to oven for 5 min. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.