Salted Date Pecan Pie

Flaky, buttery pastry and sweet, sticky pecan date filling. 

I love pie. There's nothing quite like flaky pie crust encasing creamy custard or luscious, juicy fruits or classic pecan. I mean everything wrapped up in pastry is good, right? I love a caramel apple pie topped with ice cream or cold custard and drizzled with caramel sauce- that has got to be one of my favourite comfort foods, together with goey brownies, salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal. There's something incredibly comforting about a warm bowl of oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. So dang good!

But back to this pie- I made it for my mum's birthday because she loves pecan pie :) This is a somewhat healthier take on the classic- instead of the usual corn syrup and loads of sugar, this recipe uses creamy puréed dates and maple syrup to provide that delicious sweetness. A word of caution though- the texture of the pie filling is a little different from the usual. It's a lot more light and creamy rather than the dense, chewier versions you might be more familiar with. But this version still encompasses the maple syrup-sweetness that goes so well with pecans, and that good punch of vanilla. 

Salted Date Pecan Pie 

2 1/4 cup plain flour 
1 cup cold butter, diced 
2 pinches salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup cold water 
1 egg, for egg wash 

340g medjool dates, pitted 
1 1/2 cups water 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
1/2 cup maple syrup 
3 tbsp butter 
One vanilla bean 
3 eggs 
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped 
Pecan halves to decorate 
2 tbsp maple syrup, to brush 
Flaky sea salt 

Rub butter into flour and salt, add enough cold water till the dough just comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour. 
Roll out the dough and press into pie dish, crimp the edges and dock with a fork. Refrigerate for about 15 mintues to firm up the butter. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Once baked, brush with a layer of egg wash. 
Bring water, salt and dates to a boil, let sit 5 min. Add baking soda and puree. Add maple syrup, butter, and vanilla, then whisk in eggs and chopped pecans. Pour the filling over the baked crust and decorate with pecan halves.
Bake for 35-40 mintues till golden on the edges. Let cool, then brush with maple syrup and sprinkle with sea salt. 

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