Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie Pillows
This was my Signature Dish at the 2015 World Food Championships, and it was a huge hit with the judgs. It elevated my score from place#7 to place#2. They look like “Christmas on a Plate” to me.
Filled with a pecan pie filling, these little wonton wraps are deep fried and sprinkled with snowlike powdered sugar. Garnish with cherries and mint for a Christmas tray.
I wanted to create a dish using my favorite pie filling, pecan pie. Growing up in the South, pecans are plentiful, and we always make pecan pies for Christmas. I changed up the filling to hold it’s shape a little better in order to scoop it into a wonton wrap. They surprised me when they turned out wonderful the very first try. The “snow” on the turn-in tray? Thank you fellow cook and friend, Nancy Judd, for doing that for me. She’s the best at decorating-a tray, a home, a table. She really should have her own decorating magazine. I’d buy it!
- 32 oz peanut oil for frying
- 1 c light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/2 c light corn syrup
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, divided use
- 2 1/2 c chopped pecans
- 2 Tbsp good bourbon
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 30 wonton wrappers
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 maraschino cherries, drained and quartered
- 12 small mint leaves, for garnish
- 1/2 c store bought chocolate sauce
- In a large saucepan heat oil to 350 degrees on medium high heat, making sure to adjust heat to keep between 325-350 degrees while making filling.
- 2. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and 2 eggs. Stir well with a wooden spoon and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in pecans and bourbon. Cook 9 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature or place in refrigerator 15 minutes to cool and thicken further.
- 3. Place 1 Tablespoon filling in the middle of the first wonton wrapper. Beat the other egg with water in a small bowl and use your fingers to spread a thin layer around all four edges of filled wonton wrapper. Bring up two opposite points to the middle, pressing to seal top. Bring up the other two points to the middle, pressing to seal with the first two, making a point. Press all four edges firmly to seal completely, making a little pillow. Drop gently into hot oil and cook 1-1 ½ minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with each wonton, frying 3 at a time, until all filling is used.
- 4. Place 2 little pillows on top of each plate. Sift tops lightly with powdered sugar and garnish each plate with ¼ of a cherry and 2 mint leaves and a drizzle of chocolate sauce on the plates.