spicy pecan pie with cheddar cheese crust

spicy pecan pie w/ cheddar crust

I'm always raving about the great finds at Trader Joe's, and my deep love for their Sweet & Spicy pecans. The best part of these pecans is finding new ways to use them in recipes. Because in all honesty, I can literally sit down and eat 2 bags of the pecans. That's not good for me because they are kind of fattening. The heat/spice does not bother me; I can eat fairly hot food items without getting too over-heated. Some people say that over time you lose the sensitivity in your tongue because of eating to much spicy foods. That can't be true? Can it? I do know people that can eat way hotter foods than I can and never ever be bothered by it. Why is that? I've always wondered if it's a myth about your tongue over time becoming desensitized from the over-consumption of spicy foods. What do you think?

So, I've found another recipe for my favorite sweet & spicy pecans: spicy pecan pie. It was good, we had a lot leftover as hubby won't go near that spicy stuff, ever!

Spicy Maple-Pecan Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust
(I adapted some of this from Closet Cooking)
print recipe

1 1/2 cups sweet & spicy pecans (found at Trader Joe’s)
1 cup light brown sugar, not packed
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon bourbon (optional, but makes all the difference)
¾ stick of unsalted butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten (I used 2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
(I used a pinch of cayenne-optional)
2 pie crusts (chilling in the fridge until used)
¼ - ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional, just use plain crust if you want)

Take 2 pre-made pie crusts of your own homemade pie crusts shaped into 2 circles for a regular sized pie plate.
Take one of the pie crusts and place on floured surface, place the shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top of the pie crust and gently push the shredded cheddar into the pie crust. You can use a rolling pin to push it in there. It's ok if some of the cheddar sticks out.
Take the other pie crust and put on top of bottom pie crust. Seal the crusts together and place into pie pan and form into a regular pie crust, crimping edges as you would any other pie crust. Once formed place ready pie crust into fridge to stay chilled.
Heat the sugar, syrup, bourbon and butter in a large saucepan until it boils, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and let cool.
In a separate bowl beat in the eggs, cream, vanilla and salt (and cayenne if using). When sugar mixture is cooled add in the egg mixture, combine well.
Spread the spicy pecans over the bottom of the pie crust.
Pour the liquid mixture into the pie crust.
Bake in a preheated 350F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes


  1. Pecan Pie is good enough... but SPICY Pecan Pie?? Now that's just downright phenomenal.

  2. I have never heard of using the spciy nuts for this pie. This is shear brilliance! You do like to kick things up a notch don't you? Beautiful pie pictures too!

  3. I can corroborate the sensitivity thing... as a child, I hated black pepper and would never eat it, it was too spicy. I acclimated to it when I lived with my fiance and his family (tex-mex), and could then eat it for many years enjoying it - but then I spent 3 months in Guatemala, where they never cook with it, and lost all desensitization. Now I can't stand eating anything with black pepper in it - all I taste is pepper. I really need to just suck it up and eat things coated with pepper for a week or so, but I just can't make myself do it. So no black pepper for me.

  4. Utah doesn't have Trader Joe's, we are getting robbed! I love that store! The pie looks awesome! I love the spice in the mix!

  5. I think your photos are great. Don't you just LOVE Trader Joe's? The spicy pecans are a favorite of mine but I've never thought to bake with them...You are so clever Dawn. Excellent recipe.

  6. Now I will have to get them too (sigh). All the cashiers at TJ's know me by name.

  7. Can you believe I have never had pecan pie? I am loving the cheese crust idea though. May have to borrow that sometime.

    I think that you do become less sensitive to heat over time. I have been eating spicy Ghanian food since I was a baby so it takes a lot for me to think of things as really really spicy.

  8. bourbon makes a lot of things better ;)

  9. I really like the sound of adding a bit of heat to it and the cheddar crust sounds great as well!

  10. We don't have Trader Joes here either, maybe they have something like those pecans at the store. Leave it to you Dawn to find a fantastic way to use these!

  11. Whoa! So, the pie was not kind of savory? (I've obviously never had spicy pecans) :) Very interesting flavors here! I LOVE spicy food, and yes, it does make you less sensitive-- to spicy food, not to flavors in general. If it did numb you to flavor then I would be able to eat lots more stuff (read: bitter things) but I still can't!

  12. Let's make a deal...you show your sweets, I show your savory side...dealio? Ya making we want dessert for lunch.

  13. Yummm!! You take great pictures of your food. I just wish the actual food would jump out of the computer and into my mouth!

  14. This is a crazy-ridiculous awesome recipe....wow...so original and just amazing. I'm be at TJ's over the weekend so I will get some.

  15. sounds like you do a lot of raving... :)
    your pie sounds luscious. i'll add this to my list of grievances against our dreadful lack of a trader joe's.

  16. Hey Dawn! Stop bragging about Trader Joes! haha (There is talk that we might get one here..yay!) Your pie is awesome.

  17. Hi Dawn,
    These picturesque snowy pictures deserve to be in your town's famous art gallery! I do not think Tiki wants to venture out!!!My cats here are regular mountain cats, they love the snow!!! There is also much, much more snow here!
    Dawn, come on over and bring the pie as well!......and Tiki!


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