I came home for Christmas on Tuesday evening and it's pretty much been a cooking, baking and eating marathon ever since. We've had quiche and pizza, gumbo and fresh baked baguettes, creamy au gratin potatoes and Brussels sprouts in bacon fat, porchetta pork roast and beef roast, Bûche de Nöel and Sweet Potato Sunshine Buns, Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie and a Lemon Hazelnut Tart, and chocolate-- oh the chocolate! I'm feeling the need to go on a detox-- at least a mini one, before I hole up in a cabin with a group of friends who are all fantastic cooks and bakers...
One of my go-to detox ingredients is fresh ginger root. Aside from offering of my favorite flavors ginger root also has a number of medicinal properties. It's used to curb nausea and indigestion, treat colds, and has been known to help lower cholesterol. It's also an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. I like to drink it as a tea-- grating about 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger into a tea ball or bag and steeping for 10 minutes in boiling water, then adding lemon and/or honey as desired. It also is a great addition to a smoothie or soup.
But if you're not ready for the holiday indulgences to be over just yet, I offer this Bourbon Ginger Pecan Pie as something of a gateway. I know, I know. With its hearty dose of whiskey and sweet stuff, it's a pretty far cry from anything resembling a detox, but it does contain three forms of a main detox ingredient-- ginger. Does that count?
From Allison Kave's superb cookbook First Prize Pies, this recipe is a zesty, boozy take on a classic pecan pie. Like my go-to Pecan Pie with Brown Sugar recipe, this version also contains no corn syrup, using brown sugar and maple syrup (you could also use sorghum) instead. I dialed back the sugar just a tad from the original recipe, but other than that it's pretty close to Allison's original version, which won her the "Best Overall" prize at the Brooklyn Pie Bake-off in 2010. You'll understand why upon the first bite.
Adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave
Nothing in the House pie crust, halved
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons good bourbon (I used Four Roses)
2 teaspoons (about a 2-inch piece) finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon whole milk or heavy cream)
1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Place pie plate in fridge for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Once you've let the pie crust chill, prick crust with a fork all over the bottom. Line crust with parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove weights, and bake 3 more minutes. Let crust cool completely and set aside while you prepare the filling.
3. Lower the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, syrup, eggs, bourbon, fresh ginger, ground ginger, and salt. Add the pecans and crystallized ginger to the pie shell and pour the liquid filling into the pie shell.
4. Brush crust with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling has just set and is slightly wobbly in the center. Remove pie to a wire rack and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Serve at room temperature or just warm.
*Chocolate variation: Melt 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and stir into filling before pouring into the pie shell.
Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Pie
"Indiana" Amish Oatmeal Pie
Pecan Pie with Brown Sugar