Saturday, March 03, 2007

Black Walnut Pie - A humbling learning experience

Pecan pie is on my list of things I've never made from scratch, but would like to try. We shelled black walnuts last weekend, and I found a recipe that looked similar to pecan pie, so I thought I'd try it. The recipe is from Bootstraps and Biscuits.

Black Walnut Pie
Beat 3 eggs, add 1/2 C brown sugar. Melt 1/4 C butter and add with 1 C corn syrup. Mix with the egg mixture. Stir in 1 C finely chopped black walnuts that have been mixed with 1 C quick cooking rolled oats. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking till crust is nice and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. You can substitute another C of chopped walnuts instead of the rolled oats. This will make the walnut flavor much more pronounced.
The Humbling
I've made my own pie crusts regularly for a couple of years now. I used to shy away from them, but picked up a few tricks that made it so much easier. As I am mixing the dough, I was thinking about the tips I could give you. What wisdom could I share, so that you too could make lovely pie crusts like me? (what does it say in Proverbs about pride?)

I was so into thinking about blogging, and my lovely pie crusts, that I didn't even notice I had put way too much water in. It wasn't until after I chilled the dough, and was trying to roll it out, that I realized what I had done. The dough was so sticky I couldn't work with it at all. I had to scrape it off my work surface and add more flour. The end result was not something I'd take pride in. It tasted just fine, but it sure wasn't pretty.

Humbly, I submit some tips (they really do work, I promise!) about pie crust:
1. Chill the ingredients before mixing.
2. Chill the dough before rolling
3. Roll between wax paper. This is what finally got me to make crusts all the time. It is so much easier to work with and get into the pie plate.
4. Do not add too much water!

The Learning
I really think the recipe is a good one, but my result was mediocre. The problem (besides the crust) was I didn't have enough corn syrup. I only had about 2/3 C. I referred to my substitution list. None of the quick lists had corn syrup on them. I dug a little more and the first substitute I found was molasses. I should have kept digging.

I like molasses, but even just 1/3 C was a little overpowering in this recipe. It even overpowered the black walnuts, which have a strong flavor themselves. I won't make that substitution again. I probably should have used maple syrup.

I will try this recipe again. Next time, I think I will use all nuts and skip the oatmeal. It was ok, even with all the problems, but I think it could be really good. It was a learning experience, but sometimes that is what cooking from scratch is all about.


  1. Mmmm! That looks good! I have a pineapple upside down cke in the oven right now. Mine's from a box. Betty Crocker, I'm not!

  2. How fun - it does look good! I've never made any nut pie from scratch, I'll also have to try rolling my crust dough between wax paper, I always just use a pastry cloth and a pastry cloth sock like thingy (technical I know) around my rolling pin. We've been baking from scratch today too.

  3. Hmmmm... Looks good! Most of my stuff comes out of boxes these days. Save me a piece, won't you? I'll be over "directly" to eat it! :-)

  4. WOW!!! you shelled black walnuts???!?! Are your hands stained? I'm so impressed!

  5. Even with a mistake, you did great!

  6. Tim Applehead3/4/07, 3:26 PM

    It was ok, I didn't even notice the crust, but I did notice the molasses... It was pretty strong. I look fwd to the next offering.

  7. Looks good to me! I love my pecan pie has chocolate in it... A couple Thanksgivings ago I made a burbon pecan pie, tasted great, but made the van smell like we'd been drinking, so it was a good thing my Mom lives close by...eek!

  8. Mmmmm, looks good! Pecan pie is on my list too.

  9. Looks yummy to me! Congrats!!

  10. I make pecan pies from scratch. There are nothard bt be careful to not overcook or you burn the pecans.
    I have black walnut trees. I do not shell them anymore! LOL