Perfect Pecan Pie (Felicity Cloake)

(Makes 1 x 23cm pie)

For the pastry
190g plain flour
¼tsp salt
75g cream cheese
110g butter, chilled
1.5tbsp very cold water
1.5tsp cider vinegar

For the filling
125g pecans
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g maple syrup
85g butter
200ml single cream
2tbsp cornflour
2tbsp bourbon
2 egg yolks
¼tsp salt

To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt. Add the cream cheese and rub in, or pulse briefly in the food processor to combine, then cut the butter into 2cm chunks and rub in or pulse until it’s the size of a garden pea. Stir in the water and vinegar and pulse or rub in until the butter is the size of small petits pois.

Tip into a bag and knead until it comes together into a dough and feels slightly elastic. Form into a disc and chill for 45 minutes or up to 12 hours.

Grease a 23cm loose-based tart tin and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Use to line the tin, then chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C. Tip the pecans on to a lined baking tray and bake for about 6 minutes until toasted. Allow to cool slightly, then roughly crush half of them.

Prick the pastry base several times with a fork, line with foil and fill with baking beans, rice or dried pulses. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for another 6 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, put the sugar, syrup, butter and cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir together until it melts. Sprinkle over the cornflour and whisk until it thickens into a smooth, silky mixture. Take off the heat and stir in the bourbon, egg yolks and salt, followed by the crushed pecans.

Tip into the pie crust and arrange the remaining pecans on top. Bake for about 25 minutes until set on top. Allow to cool before serving.

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