Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye! Oh My! 

Here we go again.  I love to add a little booze to my baking sometimes it just feels so right! This pie has Bulliet Rye added in the filling as well as added to the caramel sauce. I also like to pair it with a little on the rocks just to round out all the flavors. Yeah, that's it to round out the flavors...

I have made this several times for the last few Thanksgiving Day Feasts with my family.  This time I made it under the watchful eyes of two pastry chefs. Kind of nerve racking to say the least.  I kept saying to myself... Don't show fear, don't look them in the eyes. DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT!!  SHIT!! They smell my nervousness like they can sniff out a fine vanilla! 

I even came to a baking / pastry milestone of making my very first caramel sauce.  Don't worry I was coached along by Karla aka Pastry Goddess, My Bestie and Roommate.  What really makes this a home run is the Volcanic Black Sea Salt that Karla brought me back from her trip to Iceland. Sprinkle a little fancy ass salt on top of any dessert and people will think you really know what you are doing. 



I stuck to the classics here, I started from a couple of different recipes and added a few extras.  My Mom's crumble topping recipe, a classic dutch apple recipe and Karla's caramel recipe. 

Pears CHECK!

Apples CHECK!

Booze CHECK!

Butter CHECK!

Flour DOH!

In a perfect world I would have not had to make 3 trips to the store, moral of the story, check your expiration dates carefully.  I got to baking much later than I had wanted, but I did get a nice little walk in so that helped.


I usually cut my butter in by hand, this way you can get this flat thumb discs of butter incorporated into your flour, it helps to keep your crust flakey and butter chunks nice and big.  I freeze my butter again after cutting into chunks and also put my flour mixture in the freezer as well. Everything should be cold! Once you have your dough made and it is resting you can make your crumble topping and prep your fruit. This should take you about 45 minutes but if you speed through it make sure your dough rests for at least 45 minutes.


I use about 1 T fresh ginger for this pie. That with the whiskey and white pepper, it adds a warm spice that you can't get with your traditional cinnamon. 

Time to roll out your dough. 


Add your filling to the crust, trim your edges and top with the crumble topping.  I made a double batch of my crust, so I would have some extra to play with for my edge on my pie. You can do just about anything with some tiny cookie cutters. 


Making Karla's Caramel Sauce is totally optional, but I highly suggest you do! It is so good! Plus it is an opportunity to add a little more "liquid" into the mix!

Did someone say pie?
— My Dad


Pie Crust 

  • 8 T butter
  • 1 1/3 C flour 
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 T ice water 
  • 1/8 t baking powder 

Directions: Makes one pie crust. Cut butter into cubes,  combine dry ingredients, put both in the freezer for 5-10 min. Incorporated butter into flour.  Freeze for an additional 5 min, add ice water, mix and knead. Form into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest in the fridge for 45 min or overnight. 


  • 3 medium apples (your preference)
  • 4 medium Bosc Pears
  • 1 T granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t white pepper 
  • 1/2 - 1 T fresh grated ginger (use a microplane)
  • 1 t lemon zest 
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 T Bourbon or Whiskey
  • 2 1/2 T Flour

Directions: Cut rustically pealed apples and pears into 1/4 inch slices, toss with remaining ingredients, and place in pie crust.

Crumble Topping 

  • 2 T granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar  
  • 1/2 C rolled oats
  • 1/3 C oat bran flakes
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t white pepper
  • 4 1/2 T unsalted butter (cold and cubed)

Directions: Combine all dry ingredients and cut in cold butter. 

Baking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 425°F.
  3. Reduce oven temp. to 350°F. cover or tent pie with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

Karla's Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 c heavy cream 
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 T butter 
  • 1 1/2 T bourbon or whiskey
  • 2 T white corn syrup
  • pinch of salt

Directions: Caramelize the sugar with about 1/2 - 3/4 C water, pour water in pan around the edges, draw an X across the middle of the bottom of the pan to incorporate water.  When sugar reaches a nice caramel to amber color, quickly reduce heat and add cream while stirring.  Mix in rest of ingredients turn off heat and cool in an ice bath. Cool completely and refrigerate.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Crumble top can be used as a crust if you press into a pan and bake for 10 min, before adding filling.  Works best with less wet pies. 
  2. If you double the batch to make a special crust, you can use your extra dough to make tiny tarts or crackers. I topped mine with some left over crumble topping and some parmesan and dill. You can do just about anything. It would be awesome to make a little goat cheese mouse to pipe on each savory cracker.