After acquiring the mother lode of hazelnuts earlier on this month, I've been actively seeking out ways in which to use them. So far, I've used them as decoration for some cookies, and I used them in yesterday's chocolate chip cookies from Giada's Family Dinners, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the October 2008 issue of Bon Appetit had an entire section of hazelnut recipes in it, including one for Maple Hazelnut Pie. Monday night, I served it with my Giada dinner, and it was a huge success. Four of us wolfed down the whole pie, with a small sliver left over for my roommate.
I initially thought I had enough maple syrup on hand to make the pie as per the recipe, but when I went to measure, I found I was mistaken and only had half of what was required. I made up the missing volume with corn syrup, but the pie was still mapley enough. I also didn't add the bourbon, since I don't have that kind of booze around. I added some extra vanilla instead. In the end, I still got a great pie, and it tasted amazing. The texture of the filling was silky on the tongue and rich in flavour despite my substitutions. The hazelnuts, which got extra toasting during the baking process, lent the pie a more subtle nuttiness than your typical pecan would.
As for the pastry, I've found this recipe from Gourmet to be completely fool proof, and I've never had it fail once. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that pastry has been tricky for me in the past, and I've never had much success with the usual flakey pastry recipes one sees on the back of Crisco or other shortening boxes. I'm not a fan at all of vegetable shortening, and I've never made a successful pastry dough using shortening. This recipe has always worked smashingly for me, and I use all butter instead of the stipulated part butter, part vegetable shortening.
I served the pie with whipped cream, and away it went in a matter of minutes! Definitely a recipe I'll keep around!