Food Network "Iron Chef" Cat Cora loved to host tea parties as a child in Jackson, Mississippi, especially since the pre-party baking sessions earned the undivided attention of her beloved Grandmother Alma, a retired Army nurse Captain. "It was our ‘girl time,’" she recalls. During the holidays when Alma turned out pies, Cora eagerly awaited that first big piece of her favorite, White Chocolate Pecan. "I still do as an adult," declares Cora, who now has four sons of her own, since "it reminds me of all the great holidays I spent with her." While Cora now replaces her childhood milk with rosé wine, either a Bandol or a sparkling, she won’t alter Alma’s recipe: "I would never mess with perfection!" —Janet Forman
Wine pairing: Chef Cora recommends a rosé, either a Bandol or a sparkling.
- For the pie crust (makes a double crust for a 9-inch pie):
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons water
- For the filling:
- 2 cups halved pecans
- 1 1/3 cups white chocolate or vanilla flavored chips
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Prepare the crust: In a food processor, mix flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add butter and cut in using on/off pulses turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk one yolk at a time with water until blended. Add to processor by tablespoonful and process until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour.
Prepare the filling and assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the bottom crust and arrange in a 9-inch pie pan. Layer pecans and chips in the crust-lined pan.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add brown sugar, syrup and flour and blend well. Pour over white chocolate-pecan mixture. Bake for 25 minutes then cover with spray-coated foil. Bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is set in center. Cool completely, approximately 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.