Did you know we can and do grow pecans in Canada? Nut farming is taking root in both B.C. and Ontario, where the climate and microclimates permit. In Fergus, Ontario, Elisabeth Burrow of Jewels Under the Kilt, grows heartnuts, black walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans. We’ve loaded this pie with Ontario pecans and real maple syrup — no high-fructose corn syrup here! — for a southern treat with Canadian flare.
1 deep-dish pie crust; use your favourite recipe or start with frozen
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp ground flax (flax meal)
6 tbsp soft, but not oily, butter
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tsp maple extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
3 free-run eggs
2 1/2 cups raw pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare crust; press into pie plate, dock with fork, and weigh down with dry beans or pie beads set on piece of parchment. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on cookie sheet; set aside to cool.
In small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, cornstarch and flax meal until well blended and no lumps remain; set aside.
In separate small bowl, beat eggs well; set aside.
In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, maple extract, salt, and the maple, cornstarch and flax slurry; whisk to combine and, again, work out any lumps.
Remove from heat; very gradually add beaten eggs while whisking briskly to prevent eggs from scrambling. Stir in pecans.
Pour into prepared pie shell; bake on middle rack on cookie sheet, to bake more evenly and catch any sticky drips, until filling is just set, about 50 to 60 minutes. Filling will set more as it cools.
This step is optional: Decorations can be made with any dough trimmings. We had enough to fashion a few little maple leaves, which we sprinkled with sugar, and then baked at the same time as the blind-baked crust. Add any pre-baked dough decor just before serving.
Let cool completely in pan before slicing. It’s perfect as is, but also delightful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
TIP To skip the corn syrup that is usually called for in a pecan pie, we’ve added cornstarch and ground flaxseed to the maple syrup to make a thickening slurry.
From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015.