Spicy Cayenne Pecan Pie

Pecan pies aren't just a Thanksgiving thing. I love them year round - munching on crunchy pecans in an ooey gooey, buttery, brown sugar filling...I mean, who wouldn't? But the issue I always hear with pecan pies is that it is overly sweet. Well, if you make it yourself, you control the sweetness...and can add flavors that will make pecan pie fit any time of the year.

In terms of controlling sweetness, I went with a quiche shell as opposed to your sweetened pie crust. We use that at the bakery, and it works well for a variety of pies and tarts. I also added a quarter cup of coffee to the filling, which not only cuts the sweetness, but makes the filling gooey-er and gives it a nice and rich roasted flavor.

Now on the flavor side, I thought bourbon pecan pie was a little overdone. But, the sweet vanilla flavor of bourbon pairs extremely well with pecans, and I have it in this recipe too. But I got to thinking what else pairs well with nuts. Last week, I found this recipe for spicy pecan nuts and the flavor was amazing. Spices wake you up, and sometimes pecan pies taste so darn comforting that it needs that good kick. Finally, I sprinkled a little sea salt right on top of the pie before baking, which once again, cuts the sweetness, but also livens all the flavors of the pie when you bite into the salt crystals. The flavor is amazing and you have to try it.

Cayenne and Cinnamon

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For tips on how to deal with quiche dough, check out the Hard to Work with Dough post. I didn't show how to crimp the crust in this one (maybe a tips post later?), but I'm sure you can find wonderful pie crimping videos online.


1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter and shortening into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time until loose dough forms.

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2. Roll out dough and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flash freeze for 30 minutes before docking the bottom.

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PIe shell with fluted edge

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Flash frozen pie shell

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3. Blind bake pie shell with a sheet of tin foil and rice for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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4. In saucepan on medium high heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

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5. Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted pecans, bourbon, vanilla, coffee, cayenne, and cinnamon. Set the mixture aside to cool for 5 minutes.

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5. Pour into pre-baked pie shell. Sprinkle top with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes.

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#### Ready to serve!
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For Shell:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cold water
  • 4 cups of rice, for blind baking

For Filling:

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • pinch of sea salt

Copyright © 2021 - Christina Ng