Dates are the hot ticket ingredient this year. Now you can get date sugar, and date syrup (molasses) at any grocery store. It's about time because dates are nutritious and delicious! I remember them always getting a bad rep (same with figs, but more on that another time...).
I decided this pie could go without added sugar- I find pecan pies to be cloyingly sweet. I decided to do a combination of date syrup and natural cane syrup. Although I wanted to make this pie on the low-sugar spectrum, I couldn't pass up this part, because it's what helps create that gooey, custardy filling that only pecan pie has.
If you like chocolate in your pecan pie, fear not! I added some dark chopped chocolate, but it's totally optional, I know some of you are pecan pie purists. I also added some espresso powder to give it some depth. Feel free to add a splash of bourbon to the filling if you like it a little boozy.
- 2 1/ 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/ 2 cup ice water
- 1 1/ 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/ 2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup date syrup
- 1 cup natural cane syrup (I use Poirier’s, but Steens or Lyle’s also work)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
- 1 cup dark chocolate (I use 62% Valrohna), coarsely chopped (optional)
- Flakey sea salt, for garnish
To make the pie dough:
Stir apple cider vinegar into ice water.
Grate cold butter into a large bowl using the large holes on a box grater. Place in the freezer until ready to use.
Add flour and salt into a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Combine dry ingredients with grated butter and use two forks to toss until well combined. Pour about ¾ of the ice water mixture into dry ingredients and toss again until most of the flour is moistened. Transfer dough to a clean work surface and gently knead it together until no patches of flour remain. If your dough is too crumbly and dry, add a sprinkle of the remaining ice water until it comes together. Pat dough into a round, then split the dough in half and stack them. Repeat this process 2 more times to create layers. Flatten out dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
Roll out dough into a 12” circle about ⅛ to ¼” thick, using a light dusting of flour as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer dough to a 9” pie plate, gently fitting the seams by bending the sides of the dough inward over your finger, then back. Once the dough is fluted, place the pie plate into the freezer for 20 minutes before blind baking.
To blind bake the crust:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the frozen pie crust with a large sheet of parchment paper. Fill the parchment with baking beans, rice, or lentils all the way to the top, making sure to fill in each fluted crevice. [Note: This prevents the crust from sinking unto the pie plate.]
Bake for 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove beans from the parchment using a large spoon until you can lift out the parchment. Place the crust back into the oven for another 5-8 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before filling.
To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together date syrup, cane syrup, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt until well combined. Add heavy cream, and whisk until smooth, followed by eggs one at a time.
Sift in the flour. Whisk until smooth.
Place toasted pecans and chopped chocolate on the bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour filling over top.
Bake for 45 minutes or until slightly puffed in the center.
Remove from oven and sprinkle top with flakey sea salt. Let sit out overnight to cool completely.
Serve at room temperature (or chilled) with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.