Sorghum and Bourbon Pecan Pie
Every now and then the universe conspires to make sure that I pay attention to something and in the last few months it has been throwing sorghum syrup at me left and right. This sweetener is far from new, as Ronni Lundy beautifully explains in her new book Sorghum’s Savor, but it is new to many bakers, especially those of us who didn’t grow up in the southern U.S. In this Sorghum and Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe from the book, along with the recipe for Gravy Horse, Ronni shows off this amber liquid’s buttery and textural qualities to its best advantage. Sometimes referred to as simply “molasses” it is not a molasses at all, although it shares certain similarities in that it is a thick, sweet liquid and extracted from a cane-like agricultural product. Those who grew up with it and love it say it is more nuanced than any true molasses and that it is their secret ingredient in everything from pies to BBQ sauces, baked beans, beverages and more – all addressed in the book. After tasting this recipe, it convinced me to reach for sorghum again and again. Read our interview for more info on classic southern baking and sweet sorghum syrup.
Reprinted with permission from University Press of Florida. Sorghum’s Savor, by Ronni Lundy. Photography by John Rott.
- 1 nine-inch pie crust
- 1½ cups pecan halves
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup sorghum syrup
- ¼ cup half-and-half
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons white cornmeal
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- Heat oven to 325°F. Place crust in 9-inch pan and flute to make a raised edge.
- To toast pecans, lightly spray cookie sheet with oil. Spread pecans in single layer and very lightly salt. (You’re not aiming for salted nuts for snacking but just a whisper of salt—less than ⅛ teaspoon.)
- Roast pecans in oven for 5 minutes, remove, and use a spatula to stir and flip the pecans. Put back in oven and roast for 5 more minutes. If pecans are just starting to brown and smell fragrant, they are ready; turn them out in a bowl. If not, you may need to roast them for 1 to 2 minutes more before turning out.
- To make pie, turn heat up to 350°F.
- In small pan, melt butter, stir in sorghum to blend. Remove from heat and add half-and-half. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, blend sugar, cornmeal, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until yolks and whites are fully blended. Whisk in the sorghum mixture. Whisk in the sugar mixture. When all is blended, add the pecans and the bourbon and stir to incorporate. Pour into piecrust. Bake on the middle rack for 40–50 minutes, until the center is set. Remove and cool on rack before slicing.