At holiday time, folks who never otherwise would pick up a basting brush in an attempt to glaze a ham or would try to scallop a potato. They shared a meal with people they cared about and had a great time, no matter how dry the turkey or how lumpy the gravy.
And then 2020 happened. The New York Times reported in April that Americans were cooking “on a scale not seen in over 50 years.” But while they’ve had more practice lately, these new home cooks may not be eating with their loved ones this year. The 2020 holiday season may both look and taste quite a bit different for a lot of people.
The holidays will look different for me, too. Even though I cook significantly more than most, because I work in the grocery industry, I’m often tired of holiday foods by now (I’ve typically been testing recipes since June). But this year I plan to prepare a truly festive feast. I’ll make my mom’s sweet potato casserole, my sister-in-law’s seven-layer salad, my dad’s cranberry relish and my mother-in-law’s Swedish rye bread. I’ll even bake the salted bourbon pecan pie everyone always asks me to bring to dinner. I’m hopeful that cooking their signature dishes will connect me with my family even if (for this year) we might not be sitting at the same table.
My holiday wish is that I’ll be enjoying their recipes and their company next year.
I wish you joyful holidays and a very happy 2021!
Salted Bourbon Pecan Pie
- 1 refrigerated prepared pie crust
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup Kowalski's Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
- 1 oz. bourbon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 12 oz. (about 2 ½ cups) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 2-3 oz. chocolate and/or vanilla almond bark (to taste), chopped
- Coarsely ground sea salt, to taste
Place dough in a 9" deep-dish pie plate, trimming edges to leave about 1" hanging over the edge. Tuck overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim; flute the edge, if desired. Freeze crust for 30 min. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Place pie plate on a baking sheet on the center rack of a preheated 400° oven; bake until dough is set (about 15 min.). Remove from the oven; remove parchment and beans. Place pie plate aside on a cooling rack. Lower the oven temperature to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, bourbon, vanilla and kosher salt; whisk until homogenous. Stir in pecans. Return pie plate to the baking sheet; pour in the filling (do not overfill). Bake on the lower oven rack until the filling is set and the top is dark golden-brown (about 60 min.). If the edge of the crust gets very dark, cover edges only with aluminum foil or a pie shield. Cool to room temperature on a rack. In a small glass mixing bowl, melt almond bark in the microwave in 1 min. intervals on 50% power, stirring between bursts (use two separate bowls if using both chocolate and almond bark). Drizzle about ½ of the chocolate on the pie; sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle again to taste. Let stand for several hrs. until chocolate sets; slice and serve. Store leftover pie at room temperature, loosely covered, for 1-2 days or refrigerate up to 5 days.
Rachael Perron is the culinary & brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications.