Monday, November 15, 2010

First Murder Bourbon Pecan Pie

It's Thanksgiving recipe week at Mystery Lover's Kitchen! All week long, we'll be offering our suggestions for your holiday feast. Don't panic, Thanksgiving isn't until next week. We're just giving you time to plan. And because they say "life's short, eat dessert first," we're starting with a dessert today.

In THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME, Sophie Winston meets Detective Wolf Fleishman for the first time and initially has mixed feelings about him. He very thoughtfully brings her kitten food and lattes, but he also questions her about a murder. What does a domestic diva serve when questioned? First Murder Bourbon Pecan Pie!

I worked on this pie recipe so long that my friends and family burned out on pecan pie. I knew it had to have a kick of chocolate but didn't want the chocolate to overpower the flavor of the pecans. I finally settled on just the right amount of coffee and chocolate to accentuate the pecan and bourbon flavors. If you hate the taste of bourbon, you can substitute whiskey. I've made it with Jack Daniel's with very nice results.

First Murder Bourbon Pecan Pie

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (Sophie uses Sanka)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons bourbon (airline size bottle holds about 4 tablespoons)
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups roughly chopped pecans
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Microwave the butter for about 30 seconds and set aside to cool.

In a cup, stir together the instant coffee, cocoa powder, and bourbon until the coffee crystals and cocoa powder are dissolved.

Beat the two eggs in a mixer. Add the brown sugar and cooled butter and beat. Add the corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Beat to combine all the ingredients.

Mix in the pecans.

Pour into pie shell and bake 55 to 60 minutes

A couple of hints to make it fancier. I love the look of halved pecans in rows covering the pie. But halved pecans aren't easy to cut, and it ends up being a little bit messy to serve. The solution is to used chopped pecans in the pie, and make one row of pecan halves around the edge, as in the photo above. Just position the knife between pecan halves.

If you make your own pie crust (or if you use Pillsbury), roll out some extra dough and cut it with a tiny leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Use a bit of water on the back of each leaf to "glue" it to the dough underneath all the way around the edge.


1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons bourbon (or whiskey or rum)

Whip one cup (heavy) whipping cream.

When it begins to stiffen, add sugar --

1/3 cup light brown sugar (I don't recommend dark brown sugar here).

Mix in 3/4 cup sour cream.

Just before serving, whisk in two to three tablespoons of rum, whiskey or bourbon. Serve with First Murder Bourbon Pecan Pie!

Don't forget about my

To celebrate the December release of The Diva Cooks a Goose I'm holding a contest! Send your favorite cookie recipe to me at Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might be one of five winners! If you sent me a recipe, don't despair, all recipes are still in the running. If you haven't sent a recipe yet, do it soon! I'll be posting another winner next Monday and it could be you!

Our friend Dave, from My Year on the Grill is trying to get a new tradition going. He says --

I hosted a neighborhood cookie/ Christmas Beer exchange... 4 couples, each one brought 4 dozen cookies and a six pack of seasonal specialty Christmas Beers. We all left with 4 dozen different types of cookies and happy! In my neighborhood, 3 of the couples, the guys are the better cooks, but we still had to butch up the contest.

Dave's not the only one who loves this idea. Apparently, variations on the Christmas cookie/beer exchange are going on all over the country. Have you been to one?

~ Krista


  1. This pie sounds amazing, Krista! I can't wait to try it. Love the idea of the bourbon and the pecans together!

    I like the idea of Dave's new tradition with the cookies and Christmas beer! What a great idea. :)

  2. Burned out on Pecan pie... Really???

    Ah well, I volunteer to help taste test when needed. i love the look of the at pir with the little leaves and the pecans lined up around the edge.

    Marking this... It looks like a winner!

  3. Beautiful photos and gorgeous dessert! A really fantastic twist on a classic -- but you know Sanka is outlawed at the Coyle house, lol. I'm sure espresso powder will work just as well. :) I'm all for the bourbon, by the way. Love recipes with good old Kentucky bourbon. My sister has been doing the cookie swap for years. But I never heard of the holiday beer exchange. Makes sense with all of the intriguing micro-brews around. Great idea to keep the cookie party "spirited"! (We Italians would just soak all the pastries in rum.)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Krista! (a little early)
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. What a wonderful way to kick off Thanksgiving Week here, Krista! Love the recipe and the story behind it LOL. I agree with Cleo - gorgeous pictures! Thanks!

  5. Elizabeth, I thought you might like this. Bourbon is so popular in the South. ; ) And I suspect that Dave's idea of a Christmas cookie/Beer exchange would appeal even to men who don't cook. Sort of a winter version of a block party!

    Dave, too bad you don't live closer. I was giving away whole pies with one taste slice removed!

    Cleo, I'm all for soaking everything in rum. Yum! Sanka is forbidden? Even as a flavoring? Sophie and I use it because of people (I'm sure this is hard for you to believe) who can't sleep at night if they drink/eat coffee in their desserts.

    Thanks, Julie. I can't wait to see the other Thanksgiving recipes this week!

    ~ Krista

  6. Love this recipe. Of course, I'll have to try a GF version of it, but perfect for Thanksgiving! I'll let you know how my experiment turns out.

    What a yummy holiday season this is going to be!

    Killer Characters

  7. I hope it turns out great, Avery!

    ~ Krista

  8. Bourbon.Pecans.Chocolate. Three of my favorite things! Can it get any better than that?!

    I haven't made a pecan pie in ages, but seeing this recipe along with the mouthwatering pictures, I guess I have to now, and it's all your fault, Krista! ;o)

    Oh, that's a great tip about using chopped pecans for easier slicing; makes it less messy when serving!

    BTW, today's the half-way mark of NaNo, & I'm ahead of my quota! Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  9. Lynn, I'm so ashamed for causing you to want a pecan pie. This recipe isn't heavy on the chocolate. If you'd prefer a little more chocolate flavor, just increase the cocoa powder a little bit.

    Great news about NaNo! Ahead of your quota -- good for you! Go, Lynn, go!

    ~ Krista

  10. Muh-ROWR..I know what pie Lady K and I will be trying out next week.

  11. First of all kudos to you on your lovely pie crust!!! This recipe looks wonderful...I'm with Sanka passes our threshold but I will use espresso powder. There are lovely little tarts in Canada known as butter tarts and this recipe reminds me of those...I can feel the pounds settling on my hips as I type :-)
    I used to join in on a cookie exchange that had 12 moms...Mr. Nanc would wait up for me to get home!! I'm sure he would love the idea of the beer exchange!! A dear friend (who is also a chef) now brews his own beer so I may have to borrow Dave's idea..

  12. Vickie, I hope you enjoy it! Do make the cream to go with it. It's sooo good.

    Thanks, booklover. The pie crust is so easy with a cookie cutter -- but it makes such a big impression.

    ~ Krista

  13. Krista, Happy Thanksgiving... I made your pie for my table (and used the Cookie Cutters I won!!!)

    Posted today, come look...

  14. I just had a look -- love your turkey pie theme! I hope it tastes wonderful!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Dave!

    ~ Krista