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spiced walnut pie (made with date molasses)

Ingredients

  • 1 single unbaked pie crust (like a half recipe of this one)
  • 71g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 240g (1 1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 175g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) date molasses or date syrup*
  • 3.5g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 3 large eggs (142g)
  • 340g (about 3 1/2 cups) whole walnuts
  • 1.5g (3/4 teaspoon) cardamom
  • 2g (1 teaspoon) cinnamon
  • 1g (1/2 teaspoon) allspice
  • 4.5g (1 teaspoon) lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5g (1/2 teaspoon) vanilla
  • optional: vanilla ice cream and more date molasses, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) convection.**
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thick. Keep dusting with flour while you work to make sure it doesn’t stick. Gently roll the dough around your rolling pin (sort of like roller window shades) to transfer it to the pie pan, and then carefully unroll it onto the pie pan.
  3. Crimp the edges however you’d like, and place the pan in the fridge while you work on the filling. The pie shell needs to be chilled solid before you fill and bake it.
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it melts, add the brown sugar, date molasses, and salt, and whisk constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes, just until it smooths out and becomes a little less viscous (it won’t quite come to a simmer, but it should get hot).
  5. Temper the eggs: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re well-combined. Place the egg bowl over a wet paper towel so it doesn’t skid. Take the hot butter-sugar mixture, and hold it above the eggs. Whisk vigorously, and then start to slowly drizzle in the hot butter-sugar while you continue whisking constantly.
  6. Once the two mixtures are completely combined, add the walnuts, cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, lemon juice, and vanilla, and mix together until combined evenly.
  7. Pour into the chilled pie crust, smooth out as much as possible, and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of baking, you may need to tent the pie with aluminum foil to keep the crust from burning, and the walnuts from over-caramelizing (keep an eye on it to make sure this isn’t happening earlier, and tent earlier if necessary). Different pans cook at different rates, so keep an eye on it while it bakes. You know it’s done when the center is no longer wobbly (it’s pretty forgiving and hard to overcook).
  8. Let the pie cool to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. As you serve slices at the table, top each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and more date molasses (these toppings are totally optional, and the pie is delicious on its own).

Notes

* Date syrup and date molasses are two names for the same thing. It’s is easy to find in Middle Eastern markets, but it’s also sometimes available in US supermarkets with good international aisles (e.g., if you’re in the Midwest, look for a Ziyad display). If you don’t have access to date syrup or date molasses, you can make this recipe with dark corn syrup, but it will taste different, and the cook time may vary a little. You can also make your own date syrup, but it’s an involved process (and you must make sure you strain it and boil it to the right consistency, to ensure the recipe turns out right).

** If you’re not using a convection oven, you may need to slightly increase the temperature and/or cook it a little longer.