After making the purchase, Sonia and I mused about whether or not we'd need to employ the recondite prowess of one skilled in the culinary arts in order to enjoy this unique delicacy because, unfortunately, neither of us are particularly gifted in that department—at least as far as pies are concerned. Sonia can make some tasty Mexican dishes thanks to some family recipes handed down to her from her parents, who, incidentally, were in town this past week. They brought delicious, authentic Mexican sweet breads from a bakery in Los Angeles. It seemed an obvious pairing to me, if perhaps nobody else, so of course I slathered a piece of the bread with this sweet blend of nuts and syrup: Mexican-American fusion at its rarest and finest.
It worked. As long as you didn't mind the moderate alcohol essence from the bourbon in the pie filling. Other food pairings yielded similar results: ice cream, pancakes—and I can only imagine with cheesecake as well, as mentioned on the packaging—all super sweet and super tasty, but there was still that alcoholic kick. I'm well aware that the bourbon is less harsh after baking, and for that reason, I decided to try my hand at whipping up something in that big, hot, bakey thing in the kitchen that's not a microwave. What's it called again? "Oh-ven" or something like that?
My baking experiment was a reasonable success, as I modified the pie recipe on the jar to use the filling in little crescent rolls instead. The process of baking and a good bit of butter certainly helped to mellow out the bourbon zing, and the pecans were even more tasty, as they picked up a lightly-toasted flavor and slightly crispier texture in the oven.
Straight out of the jar, it's extraordinarily sweet—and bourbony, as mentioned before. The first and fourth ingredients are both types of sugar. So yeah. Hope you brought your sweet tooth. It's really just a jar of rich, luscious, maple-esque syrup and a boatload of whole pecans. Between that Chocolate Pecan Pudding Pie and this, Trader Joe's must be single-handedly keeping the pecan farming industry afloat.
I think this product is vastly more enjoyable and successful after baking, but Sonia is perfectly happy with it as a raw topping on just about anything. She gives it four out of five stars. Because it's expensive, wants to be baked, and a little too much like drinking pecan-flavored whiskey, I think I'll keep my score to a modest three out of five. But don't let this average-ish rating scare you away, particularly if you're blessed with mad baking skills.
Bottom line: 7 out of 10.