Pecan Pie with Medjool Dates

Photographer: Adam

Having spent a good portion of my twenties living and working in the USA I was lucky enough to be a guest at many family gatherings.  The most memorable of which was in Salinas, California.  My dear friend Eric, whom I met whilst working at the Ski School in Steamboat Colorado, invited my friend Anne and I along to spend Thanksgiving with his Family. I knew Eric’s family were a talented bunch with a predisposition towards adrenalin charged activities but I had no idea what was in store for me that day!

“First stop on Thanksgiving morning was the airport where Sean (Eric’s Dad) had offered to take us for a scenic flight in his plane. It was a beautiful day and before I knew it I was buckled into the front seat of his Pitts Biplane and flying high above the stunning Salinas valley along California’s central coast.  Sean chatted to me through my head set.  I told him that I had done some flying with my Granddad Pete whom was a pilot in WWII.  Sean then replied by asking if I had ever been upside down in a plane but before I even had a chance to answer, we were!  (Did I mention that Sean is considered to be one of the premiere air show performers and aerobatic pilots in the world – go figure.)  Upside down and round and round, positive G’s negative G’s and the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever experienced.

“We then went back to the Tucker family home and had a Thanksgiving feast. I’m not entirely sure if we had Pecan pie that day, but what I remember was the incredible sense of welcoming and generosity that was extended to us. To a foreigner, Pecan pie is synonymous with Thanksgiving, and eating this pie reminds me of how very lucky I am to have those amazing memories.”


Short Pastry
2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
150g cold butter chopped
1 egg yolk
Approx 3 tbsp iced water

½ cup bourbon
½ cup caster sugar
4 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups soft Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
½ cup whole pecans


Short Pastry
1. Place Flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. While the motor is running add the egg yolk and mix till combined.
3. Add water spoon by spoon until the mix is just combined (you may need slightly more or less).
4. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30min.
5. Pre heat oven to 180°C on Bake
6. Roll out and line a 26cm tart tin. Dock the pastry lightly with a fork and line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking weights or rice.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Pre heat oven to 180°C on Bake
1. Place bourbon and caster sugar in a pot and stir over a gentle heat until dissolved. Bring up to a simmer and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
2. Mix the eggs, brown sugar, butter, bourbon syrup, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Place the dates and chopped nuts into the pie and pour the mixture from step 2 into the pie plate. Place the whole pecans on the top of the pie.
4. Bake in a preheated oven until set, about 40-50 minutes.