HONEY-PECAN PUMPKIN PIE

California is among the four leading honey producers in the country. And Texas produces some of the finest pecans. This pie has a touch of honey in the filling, in the topping and in the crunchy coating for the pecan garnish. An extra batch of the honeyed pecans is a great snack or holiday hostess gift.

For pecans
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup pecan halves (about 4 ounces)

Dough

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup frozen vegetable shortening, cut into large pieces
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (about) ice water

Blend first 4 ingredients in processor 10 seconds. Add shortening; process just until very coarse meal forms. Beat egg with 2 tablespoons water; add to processor. Blend until large moist clumps form, adding more water if dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Flatten each piece into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)

 
Makes 2 crusts.

 

For filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
1/3 cup honey
1 cup whipping cream
4 large eggs

For topping
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey

Make pecans:
Place large piece of foil on work surface. Stir sugar, honey, butter and salt in heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, butter melts and syrup comes to simmer. Add pecans. Cook until syrup turns deep caramel color and bubbles thickly, stirring nuts occasionally to coat, about 9 minutes. Scrape onto foil. Working quickly, separate nuts with spoon. Cool completely. Place in airtight container. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store at room temperature.)

Make pie:
Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 350F. Roll out dough disk on floured surface to 12- to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under; crimp edge, forming high-standing rim.

Stir sugar and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk in pumpkin and honey, then cream and 3 eggs. Beat 1 egg in small bowl to blend. Brush inside of crust with some of beaten egg. Pour filling into crust.

Bake pie until filling is slightly puffed and begins to crack at edges, covering crust with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour. Cool on rack. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store at room temperature.)

Make topping:
Using electric mixer, beat cream and honey in medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe rosettes of cream atop pie. Garnish with candied nuts. Serve, passing extra nuts separately.

 
Serves 8.

 

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