The primary ingredients (Maple Syrup and Black Walnuts), both native to the North East US, are what make this alteration of the traditional "Southern Pecan Pie", into a "Northern" pie. The most common walnut found in North America is the native black walnut (Juglans nigra). Contrary to what some people believe, black walnuts do not taste the same as regular (Persian, aka English; Juglans regia) walnuts. The nutmeats provide a robust, distinctive, natural flavor. Nutritionally similar to the milder-tasting English walnut, the black walnut kernel is high in unsaturated fat and protein.
Tapped in spring, the tree yields a sweet sap that can be drunk or concentrated into syrup or sugar, much like the Sugar Maple is used to produce Maple Syrup. Difficult to find, and once found, expensive, Black Walnut syrup tastes amazing.
This recipe makes use of the unique and distinctive taste of the black walnut, and uses pure Maple Syrup with a touch of molasses as the sweetening agents.
Gather the hardware:
Large Mixing Bowl
9 in. pie pan (non-stick if possible)
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
• 2 cups black Walnut pieces
• 1 pie shell, unbaked, 9-inch
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, molasses, salt, butter, and vanilla; mix well.
Add slightly beaten eggs and blend well; stir in walnuts. Place pie crust into pie pan. Pour the black walnut mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
Carefully place the filled pie pan onto the center rack of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until set. I had to lower the heat to 300° after 25 minutes, and turn the oven off after 40 minutes (opening the door for two minutes to drop the heat) and allow ambient heat to complete the baking so that the crust would not burn. Most likely, I should have used an aluminum foil crust protector.
Allow to completely cool and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
* oven toast the walnuts before using, allow to cool completely
* Use a Graham Cracker Crust
* Substitute Black Walnut extract for the Vanilla
* Add 2 TBS Yukon Jack liqueur, instead of Vanilla
* Substitute Black Walnut Syrup for the Molasses