Posted by: Pat | January 3, 2009

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

On our recent visit to Texas, we took the opportunity to visit the Texas Hill Country. The Hill Country is 70 miles northwest of San Antonio and 70 miles west of Austin. We had heard that some of  Texas best wineries were located in Fredericksburg. I also wanted to visit the Fredericksburg Pie Company. Fredericksburg has a population of  9,667 but the town triples in size on the weekend with the influx from Austin and surrounding towns. Tourist come for the German heritage, wineries, wildflowers, lavender farms. and the beauty of the area. This area is also known for its peaches and pecans. We were visiting in the fall and missed the peaches but there were lots of pecans.
My first stop was the Fredericksburg Pie Company. I had read an article in Southern Living about this pie shop and was anxious to visit to taste their pecan pie. It was in the middle of the week and it was not very busy. This gave us an opportunity to visit with the owner, Charlotte Freeborn and her son. Charlotte and her son makes all the pies at the shop. Charlotte was not the first owner.  Charlotte thought this business would be as easy as pie to operate but soon found that it was hard work.

A different pie is featured for the month. But every day a different pie is feature. This week the featured pies were peanut butter, key lime, buttermilk, and German chocolate. They all looked great but I had my heart set on pecan pie. And boy did I come to the right place. My husband tried the pecan pie which is made with molasses instead of corn syrup. There was an abundance of pecan halves in a tender crust made with butter and flour. I went for the Bourbon Orange Pecan Pie on the recommendation of Charlotte’s son. It has to be the best pecan pie that I ever tasted. The pie filling is made with orange zest, bourbon, molasses, and pecans. It was so smooth, sweet but not too sweet. The secret of a great pecan pie is plenty of pecans not just a few pieces in a syrup filling. We were not disappointed.

While we were at the shop, several regular customers came in for slices to go or to order whole pies. There would be not reason to cook your own pie in this town as long as Charlotte is still making pies. This was a very pleasant visit and would be one of my regular stops if I lived in Texas.

While visiting Fredericksburg, I would also recommend going to some of the wineries. I would skip the Fredericksburg Winery on main street. I did not feel that their wines were that good and there are some excellent wineries just outside of Fredericksburg. Be sure to stop at Becker, Grape Creek, Torre di Pietra, and Woodrose Winery. All have lovely wines and beautiful tasting rooms. I especially enjoyed the tasting room at Woodrose Winery and discussing wines with the vintner. We has some wines shipped from the Woodrose Winery. I was very pleased that I received a phone call letting me know that the wines had been shipped.

I could not get Charlotte to part with her receipe for the Bourbon Orange Pecan Pie. I will share another very rich pecan pie recipe.

Mocha Pecan Pie
Crust
1/3 cup butter
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 tablespoons ice water
Filling
3/4 cup sugar                                                                  1 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup maple syrup or dark corn syrup                   2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur                                       2 tablespoons of unbleached white flour
3 large eggs                                                                     1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400
For the crust, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add about 3 tablespoons of ice water and combine until the dough clings together in a ball. Roll it out on a lightly floured board. Place the crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.
To make the filling, place all the filling ingredients except the pecans in a blender or food processor and puree until the chocolate chips are completely ground up and everything is smooth. Pour the filling over the pecans in a bowl and stir just enough to coat the nuts. Pour the filling into the unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, the reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until the filling is set but still moist. Cool completely before cutting.

OutHouse Exhibit at Grape Creek Winery. Artists Betty Rhodes and Greg Glowka.

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Responses

  1. I really like that outhouse.

    I know it doesn’t have to do with pies, but you should blog about going to the inauguration yesterday!

  2. My daughter and I just had our first slice of the Orange Bourbon Pecan Pie last week and it is as good now as when you had it. We stopped on our return trip home and bought a whole pie to take home and share with our husbands. If you are still pie-tasting, the Julian Bakery in Julian, CA has WONDERFUL apple pie.


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