Move Over Pecans. This Walnut Pie is a Winner!
Strictly speaking, berry pies are my favorite. Peach and apple are also high on the list. The occasional banana cream and the much-anticipated pumpkin pie are heartily adored as well. I’ve only eaten pecan pie once. I know, it seems blasphemous to admit such a thing, but I only started liking nuts in the last few years. What can I say? Illogical childhood phobias are hard to break. But when I came across the recipe for a walnut pie with caramel, chocolate, and booze, well, all bets were off. This pie had to be tried and what better occasion than Thanksgiving?
Poor ol’ pumpkin pie. He was cast aside, rejected even, as the Walnut Pie took center stage on everyone’s plates last Thursday night. Served warm, the filling was gooey, the caramel was oozing, the chocolate was melting and the walnuts were, well, nutty. All together it was like your favorite candy bar melted over a flaky, buttery crust. I was thrilled I had the smarts to bake two of these pies so I could enjoy a piece a day for the next week. You need to try this pie. Plan a dinner party or an afternoon tea or even a late brunch. Just find some excuse to make this pie. You’ll thank me after your first bite.
The original recipe for this pie came from Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles, and Fools and called for using Jameson whiskey. Well, shoot, you don’t have to twist my arm. Sadly, time got away from me and I never made it to the liquor store to pick me up some. I ended up using brandy instead and it complemented the flavor of the pie perfectly. I’ll still try whiskey when I make this the next time, but don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand. Use bourbon, brandy, or just omit the liquor (yeah, right).
As for the chocolate, it was a delicious addition that made the pie reminiscent of a warm chocolate chip cookie. I did make half of a pie without chocolate for my mom since she can’t eat it. My aunt, after sampling both versions, said she actually preferred the pie without the chocolate. I am torn, myself. I’m a chocolate lover and I have no problem with it in this pie, but I admit that the caramel shines through more without the chocolate to compete with. Try it either way, it will be tasty no matter what!
I don’t usually include a pie dough recipe when I post about pies and let you choose your favorite recipe since I have yet to achieve the perfect pie dough. I was pleased with the results of this version though, so I’ve included it, but as always feel free to use another recipe or buy a pre-made crust.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cold and cubed
- 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2+ Tbsp ice water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- 3 eggs
- 3 Tbsp whiskey, bourbon, or brandy
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- You know the drill for the crust. Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and shortening and pulse to pea-sized pieces. Add vinegar and 2 Tbsp ice water and pulse again. If still too dry, add more water 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough is moist enough to press into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes before rolling out to fit a 9-inch pie tin. Chill while you prepare the caramel.
- To make the caramel, combine the butter, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter melts and is fully combined with the sugar. Continue to cook until the mixture is golden brown, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring. When it is golden, remove from the heat and add the cream. Swirl to combine.
- Pour the caramel into the chilled pie shell and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- To make the filling, whisk together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, liquor, vanilla and salt until smooth. Sprinkle half of the chopped walnuts and all of the chocolate over the caramel. Pour the filling over it, then top with the remaining nuts. (I placed a few whole walnuts on top so it was clear what was in the pie).
- Bake for about 50 minutes until the filling is nearly set (it should no longer jiggle). Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving, or cool and rewarm in the oven before serving.
My oh my, that is one delicious pie!