Home of Economy-Herald pie recipes: That pecan pie's 'boozy crust' is infused with bourbon

Pecan Bourbon by Peggy Raddatz.jpg
"Pecan Bourbon Pie with Boozy Crust and Maple Whipped Topping," by Peggy Raddatz.
Grand Forks Herald
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When Peggy Raddatz submitted her “Pecan Bourbon Pie with Boozy Crust and Maple Whipped Topping,” the ultra-descriptive title led to a logical question: What does she mean by “boozy crust”?

Peggy Raddatz of Grafton.jpg
Peggy Raddatz, of Grafton, North Dakota.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

A quick look at the recipe explained it. Sure enough, there it was – a little more than a teaspoon of bourbon was required. Not for the filling, but the crust.

Raddatz, of Grafton, was one of 16 contestants in the first-ever Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off earlier this year. Although she didn’t win the four-weeks-long competition, she still displayed her obvious baking skills, submitting pies that were creative as they were tasty.

Following is her recipe for “Pecan Bourbon Pie with Boozy Crust and Maple Whipped Topping.” During the holiday season, the Herald will be publishing the recipes of all 30 pies entered in this year's Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.

Recipes will variously publish in print, e-editions and online and will be compiled on the Herald's website.


Pecan Bourbon Pie with Boozy Crust and Maple Whipped Topping

Baker: Peggy Raddatz

Hometown: Grafton

Business sponsor: Ground Round Grill & Bar


1-½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife

½ tsp salt

⅛ tsp baking powder

6 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cubed


3 Tbsp very cold vegetable shortening

3-½ Tbsp ice water

1-½ tsp bourbon


Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add butter and shortening with a pastry knife cut until you have coarse, pea-sized chunks. Add the water and bourbon until the mixture is just evenly moistened, it will be crumbly. Dump the crumbly dough onto a work surface and gather it into a ball and fold together. Pat the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator (if it was in the fridge for a long time, let it sit on the countertop for 10 to 15 minutes for easier rolling). Dust work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough, turning it frequently and adding more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle. Gently fold the dough in quarters and transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan (at least 1-½ inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan. Trim the edges to ½-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust. Using your fingers, crimp the crust, then make light cuts in the bottom of the crust to avoid lift. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and heat the oven.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cover the inside of the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it at least halfway full of dried beans or pie weights (this is an important piece to keep your crust in place). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is pale and partially cooked. Remove the parchment and weights and set aside while you prepare the filling.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F.



5 Tbsp butter

⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar

⅔ cup light corn syrup

½ cut dark syrup

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 Tbsp bourbon

1 tsp pure maple syrup

½ tsp salt

2-½ cups pecan halves (I leave whole)


In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter smells nutty and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter into a large bowl to cool. (When you transfer the brown butter to the bowl, try to leave as much of the sediment in the pan).

In the bowl with the brown butter, add the brown sugar, corn syrups and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt.

Sprinkle the pecans in the baked pie crust (I flipped the whole pecans over as they will float to the top, it makes for a nice-looking pie) and then pour the syrup mixture over them.

Make sure the oven temperature is 350° F. Bake until just set and bubbling at the edges, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove the finished pie from the oven and cool completely. Serve at room temperature. I enjoy it with maple or vanilla whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy cream

4 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup or real vanilla extract (for a stronger flavor, add another Tbsp).

Using mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Eat up
Here is Olson’s recipe for “Strata Pie.” During the holiday season, the Herald published the recipes of all 30 pies entered in this year's Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off.

Related Topics: GFH PIES
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