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Southern Voices: Brandon Carter, FARM at BlufftonBy Stephanie Burt
Chef Brandon Carter grew up in Atlanta, raised by parents from the Midwest. “So even though I was exposed to Southern food, at home, we had pot roast, Northeast traditional boiled dinner, meatloaf, those sorts of things,” he says. “But my family always made pies.”
His grandmother was famous for her pies, and his mom carried on the tradition, though she tweaked the crust recipe a bit by adding butter instead of making it all shortening or lard. And there was often pie in the house, including pecan. When Carter started cooking professionally, he tweaked the crust a little further by “getting cheffy with it,” he says, grating frozen butter into the flour for an even flakier texture.
After Carter became the executive chef at FARM (he’d already become known in the Bluffton area through his stint as the executive chef at Palmetto Bluff), he knew that hand pies with his family pie crust recipe would be on the menu, and although he does a variety of flavors, from peach to raspberry to coconut cream, the pecan pie hand pie is one of the most requested. With the inclusion of local cane syrup that is pressed less than an hour from the restaurant and a good pour of bourbon, he proves he’s a “Southern boy” after all.
Pecan Hand Pies from Chef Brandon Carter FARM, Bluffton, SC
Yield: 6 hand pies
For the pie dough
½ lb. unsalted butter8 Tbsp shortening5 ½ c. all-purpose flour½ c. ice water2 tsp kosher salt
For the pecan filling
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter6 Tbsp. light brown sugar½ tsp. kosher salt¾ c. cane syrup3 Tbsp. bourbon1 vanilla bean, split and scraped3 eggs¾ c. pecans, toasted and chopped
To make the hand pies 3 eggs, reserve the egg whites to make an egg wash1 qt. canola oilPowdered sugarWhipped cream
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