I’m a little bit fascinated with kumquats, arguably the cutest member of the citrus family. I remember the first time I saw them at the grocer’s, I picked up a couple to try but got a bit of a surprise with the sweet-sour pow of flavour such a small fruit could contain. I made it my mission to try them in a dessert, which is why I was automatically drawn to the recipe for Pecan Pie in the Tartine Cookbook. How could you go wrong with Pecans, Kumquats, Maple and Bourbon? Yes, that was a rhetorical question!
Traditionally, a pecan pie is usually sweet enough to cause tooth decay on contact but I liked this one a lot because it used an unsweetened flaky pastry, and the tang of the kumquats help to cut through the intense sweetness of the sugar custard. My dad declared this his favourite dessert ever, taking the crown from Carrot Cake. I’d never thought I’d see the day. I noticed that the supply of pecans in the pantry has been replenished, and I’m almost certain he’s counting the days until I make it again.
Reading through the flaky pastry recipe before I started was making me a little bit nervous but it came together very easily in the food processor. The secret is to keep some visible streaks of butter in the dough and to work it as little as possible. If you can’t find kumquats or if they’re not in season, you could also use the grated zest of 1 orange.
Pecan Maple Pie with Kumquats and Bourbon
Adapted from the Tartine Bakery Cookbook
Serves 8 -12
Flaky Tart Dough (Makes two 9-inch tart shells. Recipe can be easily halved)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup water, very cold
• 3 cups + 2 tablespoons plain flour
• 300g unsalted butter, very cold
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup light corn syrup
• 2 tablespoons bourbon
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 55g unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 cups pecans, halved
• ½ cup kumquats, thinly sliced, seeds removed
• Whipped cream or ice cream, to serve
1. To make the pie dough, combine the salt and water in a small bowl. Keep very cold until ready to use. Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs.
2. Drizzle in the salt water and pulse again until the mixture forms a shaggy mess. You should still be able to see some butter chunks. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each into a disc 1-inch thick. Wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick. Lift and rotate the dough to prevent it from sticking, and work quickly so it remains cold. Carefully transfer the pastry to the lightly greased tart dish, pressing gently into place. Trim the dough with a sharp knife.
4. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line with baking paper and fill with pie weights. Bake until surface looks light brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the weights and paper. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling.
5. To make pecan filling, combine sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, bourbon and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, for 1 minute.
6. Take off the heat and add the butter, whisking as it melts. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Set the oven to 180°C (350°F)
7. Add the vanilla and eggs to the cooled mixture and stir to mix well. Stir in the pecans and kumquats, and pour into the prepared pie shell.
8. Bake the pie until the filling is just set, for 40-60 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminium foil. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.