28 November 2009

Ruby Red Pecan Pie

Try this: A perfectly flaky pie crust filled with a soft and sweet, vibrant red pie filling fragrant of cloves and topped with crunchy, caramelized pecans. This is Ruby Red Pecan Pie, an innovative twist on the traditional pecan pie. The secret to the color comes from roasted fresh beets--yes, beets--grated into the filling. With spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, plus the addition of dried cranberries, this pie has a variety of fun flavors and textures. I came across the recipe for this pie filling at a blog called Edible/Usable a week ago, and I was really excited to try it. I made a few changes: light corn syrup instead of maple syrup and pecans instead of walnuts. I also used my own pastry crust recipe and bumped up the spice measurements a notch. (And then I avoided using my food processor, because I didn't want the plastic fittings of my food processor to be permanently stained with red beet juice!) The pie came out great, and while I served it on its own, I think a scoop of vanilla ice cream would make it really pop as a dessert.

Many of the ingredients are what you'd see in a pecan pie recipe, but I like to think that the addition of beets makes this a healthier pie. It's not overly sweet, so leftovers are great for breakfast too. My breakfast this morning? A dollop of creamy, tangy plain yogurt over a slice of ruby red pecan pie. I think I want seconds on breakfast today!

Ruby Red Pecan Pie
1 single unbaked pie shell (9 inches)
2 medium beets, leafy tops removed (for 1 cup grated beets)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

Cover beets with water in a saucepan and boil for 30-45 minutes until tender. Cool and peel. Grate beets on the coarse holes of a box grater, set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add all other ingredients except cranberries and pecans to a large metal bowl and blend well. Add 1 cup of the grated beets (you may have some beets left over), the dried cranberries, and the pecans. Mix well to combine, then pour into the unbaked pie shell. (I tried to arrange the pecan pieces to be floating on top.)

Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes or until pie is firm. Let pie cool a little and serve either warm or at room temperature.

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