Difficulty: Medium, since a layering pastry crust technique was used.
Part 1: Making the Pie Crust
2 cups flour
3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
egg wash (egg yolk beaten with a splash of water)
1. In a bowl, combine the softened butter and shortening until homogenized. Using a knife, divide this fat mixture into four equal portions.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. To this bowl, add one of the quarter portions of butter-shortening to the flour/salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the fat into the flour until it resembles sand. To this mixture, add the water and lemon juice and incorporate gently until in comes together into a soft dough.
3. Roll out this pastry dough into a strip that is about 2 or 3-fold as long as it is wide. Dot one quarter of the fat over the surface of the pastry. Fold the bottom 1/3 of the pastry over 2/3 of the pastry and then fold the remaining 1/3 over this; imagine how you would fold a letter before sticking it into an envelope or how a promotional a brochure would be folded.
4. Press down the edges of the pastry to seal the fat in. Roll out into another long strip and this procedure until all the fat is used up. fold up into plastic wrap and leave it to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 min.
5. After 30 min, roll out to 1/4 in thick and place into a 9 in round pie dish. Trim any over-overhanging pastry and crimp the edges between two knuckles.
6. Dock the bottom and place a piece of parchment paper inside with dried beans to weigh down the dough. Brush with an egg wash at this point. Blind bake at 450F for 15 min. After 15 min, remove from the oven and let cool.
Part 2: Making the Maple Rum Raisin Tartlet
1 Tb rum (or water)
1 Tb maple syrup
handful of raisins
excess/trimmed pastry dough
1. After making the pie crust, gather the excess pastry trimmings and re-combine into a ball. Roll out until 1/4 in thick.
2. Carefully cut out a pi symbol from this dough approximately 5 - 6 in wide by 4 in high. In case of a lack of free-handing skills, try printing off a scale stencil using a word processor and simply cutting around this guide using a sharp knife.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut long strips of pastry dough each measuring !1/4 in thick. Lightly brush egg wash on the cut out pi symbol and carefully place the strips along the edge. Continue along the edge of the symbol until it is completely bordered.
4. In a small bowl, mix the raisins, maple syrup & rum. Microwave for 30 sec, remove, and mix. Microwave for 30 sec intervals until most of the liquid is absorbed and the raisins are plump.
5. Carefully place the raisins into the middle of the pi symbol pastry.
Part 3: Making the Filling
1 cu brown sugar
1/2 cu light corn syrup
1/4 cu maple syrup
5 Tb melted unsalted butter
1 Tb rum
1/2 tsp salt
2 cu whole pecans
1. In a medium bowl, mix everything except the pecans until blended. Once combined, stir in the pecans.
2. Pour the filling into the par-baked piecrust. Bake at 375F until the center is jiggly but starting to set, approximately 25-30 min. At this point, carefully place the raisin pi-tartlet into the center of the pie and bake for another 15 min. In the case that the crust starts to get too browned, place a foil cut-out to shield the crust from burning.
3. When done the center should still be soft and slightly jiggly. When this point is reached, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hr.
Enjoy and Happy Pi Day!