Holiday Baking: Salty Nut Pie

Salty Nut Pie-SACASA.jpg

Go nuts. [Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

While I appreciate pecan pie for its nutty top and gooey center, it's become tiresome. I've switched it up, adding booze and a dark-chocolate bottom, serving it broken up and stirred into homemade ice cream. No complaints, ever, but my tastes have been gearing to the salty-sweet more than ever and my classic pecan pie has hit a sugary plateau. Before pecan pie addicts shake their heads and sigh in disgust, do remember that by the time holiday season appears in real life, Thanksgiving and Christmas have been celebrated in food styling life a number of times.

In preparation for this year's festivities, then, I wanted to make something along the same lines of pecan pie (guests will revolt if it's missing from the table), but with more dimension. Enter the salty nut pie: sugar is cooked until dark amber and beginning to smoke, like that rich burnt caramel you find bathing flan, then combined with beaten eggs. The eggs will give the pie that traditional, translucent, custard-like filling. Salt in the filling and a topping of mixed cocktail nuts make each bite well-balanced between salty and sweet, not to mention multi-textured.

I've tested this pie with the addition of salted roasted peanuts and honey roasted peanuts and found the topping tasted too much like peanut brittle. But, essentially, any salty nut combination will do.

About the author: María del Mar Sacasa is a food stylist, recipe developer, and author of the food blog Cookin' and Shootin'. Her first book, Winter Cocktails is currently on sale.

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