This delightful addition to our holiday pie lineup was inspired by the Country Potter, aka John Platt III, the only one of the original historic demonstrators from Fort Wayne’s first Johnny Appleseed Festival in 1975 who still participates.
I wrote about John’s 19th century Midwestern pottery techniques in a story that ran this fall in one of the last print editions of The News-Sentinel. I knew he made high-quality pie plates, because that’s what local pie-baking legend Helen Witte bakes her $2,000 charity auction pies in.
What I didn’t realize is that John’s a pretty good pie baker himself. When I went to buy a couple of his pieces for Christmas gifts recently, he told me about his maple bourbon pumpkin walnut pie. I couldn’t talk him into retrieving the recipe for me; the 75-year-old has a bad back and moves laboriously.
“Just google it,” he said. “That’s what I tell my kids when they ask for a recipe. It’s a lot faster anyway.”
For the pie we made on Sunday, I used a store-bought crust. For the filling, we tried this recipe from circulon.com, substituting evaporated milk for the heavy cream – partly to save fat and calories but mainly because I didn’t have any cream on hand. We baked ours for one hour at 350 degrees. That recipe is below.
John had told me he scatters walnuts across the top of his pie. Most of the maple-bourbon-pumpkin recipes I found that included nuts used pecans. But we like walnuts, and I liked staying true to the spirit of the Country Potter’s pie even if we didn’t have the same exact recipe. So we decided to adapt this recipe for a maple-pecan topping from bromabakery.com. That recipe is also listed below, under the filling recipe.
This pie baked up really nice, with a much more interesting taste than plain old pumpkin pie. I’m definitely making it again for Christmas!
Maple-bourbon-pumpkin pie filling
- 1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (we used an equal amount of evaporated milk, one of the substitutions suggested by healthline.com).
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pie crust and set on a shallow rimmed baking sheet. Loosely cover the crust with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the center of the oven until the filling is just set, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature and chill at least 3 hours before serving.
Maple-walnut topping ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup light or medium brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt maple and brown sugar until it bubbles. Add in butter, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add in walnuts and coat completely with mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes more, until the nuts have absorbed most of the sugar and begin to look sticky.
- Remove from heat and place on parchment paper or wax paper to cool. Once pie is cooled completely, top with maple walnuts.