I’ve been entertaining the idea of entering into The Great Grits Cookoff. I am now past the entry deadline, though there is still a slight chance that I may squeeze myself in, just as an exercise in batch cooking and building self-confidence. In preparation, I’ve been checking out some interesting recipes, trying to come up with my own take on the great grits. Not so easy, I tell ya…
One of the recipes I tried was Grits Pecan Pie in combination with a simple Molasses Pecan Pie version. I thought it was an interesting idea to put grits into both crust and filling. The pie came out pretty well. It features a bit too much sugar in my opinion, but I like the strong molasses flavor, and while grits aren’t playing the most prominent part here (which immediately disqualifies the pie from entering a contest), they do add nicely to the texture. I would recommend the pie if you like molasses. And grits. And pecans.
Original recipes are here:
Grits Pecan Pie With Molasses
Adapted from the two recipes listed above. Serves 8
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup finely ground or sifted stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) butter, cut into pieces
- 5 tablespoons buttermilk (I used homemade kefir, which is same consistency)
For the filling:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup uncooked stone-ground yellow grits
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar (may be reduced by half or eliminated altogether)
- 3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups broken pecan halves, divided
Make the crust dough: Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Cut in or rub in by hands the cold butter, until pea-size crumb forms throughout.
Add buttermilk/kefir and mix everything gently by hand until just combined. Press into a ball. Do not knead to prevent gluten development.
Wrap in plastic, press into a disk and chill at least 1 hour.
Make the filling: Combine water, salt and grits in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer and cook, covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and molasses and heat through, while stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Let cool until saucepan is touchable.
Add eggs and stir until smooth.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the crust dough out to a 1/4″ thickness. Transfer the dough into a 9″ pie dish or a similarly sized tart pan. Press the sides to a pan nicely, removing the extra dough. The best way to do it evenly is by running the rolling pin over the edges of the pan, pressing the dough down — it fill cut off along the edge and will separate easily, leaving a nice evenly cut sides.
Spread an even layer of pecan halves on the bottom of the pie pan, over the crust.
Gently pour the filling mix over the pecans, taking care not to disturb them, if possible.
Fill in the gaps with remaining pecans, where openings were created after pouring the filling in.
Preheat the oven to 325F. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until just set. Cool on rack and serve.