I was assigned pecan pie as my contribution to Christmas dinner. A few years ago I had made a black-bottomed whiskey pie out of a magazine. Of course I couldn't find the recipe anywhere. I looked online and only saw pies that asked for bourbon. I already have a bottle of Jack Daniel's and two bottles of rum from previous pie recipe needs, but no bourbon. I have two bottles of rum because one cheesecake recipe I have calls for it. By the time I made it again, I'd forgotten the full bottle of rum minus one tablespoon. (I asked our New Year's Party hostest, "Do you need me to bring rum?"). I became frustrated and ordered a pie from Coco's. Right after I picked up the pie, someone clued me in that whiskey is a type of bourbon. Dur.
The Coco's pie turned out to be great. But the desire to bake a pecan pie didn't leave me. My cousin remarked that the best pecan pie she'd ever had was off the back of the Caro's syrup bottle. I set out to make a pecan pie last week and consulted all of my most trusted cookbooks. I settled on Shirley Corriher's famous "CookWise" recipe. It called for arrowroot, another ingredient I rarely if ever use. I looked through my spices and found two unmarked baby food jars filled with white powder. One was Cream of Tartar, but I suspected the other to be Arrowroot. I phoned my mom to see if she could taste her arrowroot and describe it to me, so I could make a positive ID. She first wanted to know why I was putting arrowroot in pecan pie. "Don't do that!" I realized while talking to her that I had arrowroot, but no brown sugar. OMG! I'm slipping. I'm usually so good about having baking needs on hand for when the mood strikes. I ended up making a pie off with the Caro's syrup recipe. I used a refrigerator crust because I was feeling lazy. OCD enough to bake an unnecessary pecan pie, but too tired to do it right. It turned out well. I definitely like the light syrup. You can see the texture of the pie better. I ended up modifying the recipe slightly. I toasted the pecans first at 350 for 7 minutes. I then added butter and salt, let the pecans soak it in and then used them in the pie. I can tell it made a difference. One of my friends offered to smoke some pecans for a future pie and I just might take him up on it - if I can plan that far ahead.