This gorgeous pie recipe from our friends at Higgidy serves 8 people. You can eat it cold, but it’s best served straight from the oven with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For the filling:
Equipment: 1 x 23cm loose-bottomed round fluted tart tin
1 quantity of Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (see below)
A little plain flour, for dusting
100g pecan nuts, chopped, plus 80–100g pecan halves
100g soft light brown sugar
200ml double cream
1 tsp salt, ideally good-quality salt such as fleur de sel
2 medium eggs, beaten
3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
250g plain flour, plus a little for dusting
50g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
135g butter, well chilled and cut into small cubes
1 medium egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp ice-cold water or whole milk
Make the sweet shortcrust pastry according to the method below and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out your pastry to about 3mm thick and line your tart tin with it, making sure the edge of the pastry stands just a little proud above the rim. Trim the edges, prick the base with a fork and return it to the fridge for a further 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it helps prevent any shrinkage in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. Remove the tin from the fridge, line with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans (see page 211). Bake in the oven on the hot baking sheet for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and continue to cook for 5–10 minutes or until the pastry is dry. Set aside.
Spread the chopped pecans evenly over a baking sheet (reserve the pecan halves for later) and lightly toast in the oven for 8–10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
Place the sugar, butter and cream in a pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir in the cooled toasted nuts, salt and beaten eggs. Pour the mixture into the pastry case. Arrange the reserved pecan halves over the top of the pie in a circular pattern. Bake in the oven on the hot baking sheet for 25 minutes.
Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool a little, then brush the top with the warmed apricot jam. This pie is nice served just warm, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY:
Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl or a food processor. Add the butter cubes and lightly rub in with your fingertips or pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the beaten egg and cold water or milk and use a round bladed knife or pulse to combine the ingredients until the pastry comes together, adding a tiny bit more liquid if needed. Gather it up with your hands and knead very briefly into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Try not to handle it too much at this stage, or the fat will get warm and the pastry will become tricky to use and may turn out tough and chewy. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes before use.