Alexander Smalls’ Bourbon Pecan Pie

published Nov 5, 2021
Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

A splash of bourbon is the star of this indulgent pecan pie from legendary chef Alexander Smalls.

Serves8 to 10

Makes1 (9-inch) pie

Prep30 minutes

Cook55 minutes to 1 hour

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Slice of pecan pie on green plate with gold fork. Pie has a dollop of creme fraiche on top
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Stephanie Yeh

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Everything in life tastes better with bourbon — and pecan pie is no exception. The sweet, sticky, crunchy bite of one of the South’s most delicate and indulgent desserts fares well with a splash of bourbon, that oaky aged elixir from Kentucky. Pecan pie was one of the first pies I learned to bake.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Prop Styling: Stephanie Yeh

The recipe is pretty basic, but it’s those special touches that will distinguish your pie, like the quality of the crust and whether you use dark, light, or golden syrup as your base. I like to make a couple of these pies at a time and freeze one to enjoy later with friends and family at a moment’s notice. It defrosts well and quickly. Enjoy!

Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

A splash of bourbon is the star of this indulgent pecan pie from legendary chef Alexander Smalls.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 55 minutes to 1 hour

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


For the pie crust:

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 3 tablespoons

    cold unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    cold vegetable shortening

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    ice water

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    light or dark corn syrup

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • Pinch kosher salt (optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    pecan halves

  • Crème fraîche mixed with a little powdered sugar, for serving (optional)


Make the pie crust:

  1. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until combined and the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 8 (1-second) pulses.

  2. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water through the feed tube and pulse until the dough comes together to form a ball, about 6 (1-second) pulses more.

  3. Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a disk. Wrap completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

  4. Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Trim all but an inch of dough from around the edges. Roll the edges of the dough under itself and crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes while you heat the oven and make the filling.

Make the filling and bake the pie:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 cup corn syrup, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and a pinch of kosher salt if desired, and whisk to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups pecan halves and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and spread into an even layer.

  3. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 200°F and the top springs back when tapped lightly, 55 to 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool until warm before serving. Serve slices with crème fraîche mixed with a little powdered sugar if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover pie can be covered in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

From Meals, Music, and Muses by Alexander Smalls. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of Flatiron Books.