Monday, October 31, 2011

Pecan Pie

I should have known food was going to be important to me.
1. As a child, all of our family pets were named after candy. Our first pet was a dwarf-lop eared rabbit named lollipop. We had her for a long time. The next long-time pet we had was a tortie cat named Reese's. We also had skittles, pixie, kisses, hugs, and licorice. I know there were more I just can't remember them now. I, on the other hand, have named my pets after my husband's past romantic entanglements. I won't mention them here, but I would like to say I got a small sense of satisfaction when my chickens were killed by a dog.
2. My mom was a candy connoisseur. I always remembered people raving about her fudge and toffee. She made things that other people never thought of making, like homemade marshmallows dipped in chocolate. I never felt like there was something that couldn't be made at home. Of course, there are things you don't think of, but I never felt like things were impossible.
3. My grandmother was a gourmand. With six children in the house, there wasn't very much opportunity for fancy food. But when there was, she seized it. She loved Gourmet magazine, and when I heard they were no longer publishing I almost cried. I felt like part of my memory of her was going to be forever lost. I remember her canning peaches from the trees that were on their property. My grandpa was an avid gardener, ensuring the kitchen had a steady supply of fresh vegetables, and his birds had kale and sunflowers. His lemon, peach, and fig trees never ceased to entertain us.

One of my favorite pies, hands-down is pecan. I really love it, with a little dollop of freshly whipped cream. It can easily be disappointing if it is not prepared properly, but this recipe, I think, is perfect. Give it a try.

Pecan Pie
From Food Network

2 1/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar (omit for savory crust)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 Tablespoons (or more)  ice water

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter, using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 Tablespoons water. Using on/off turns, blend just until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; divide dough in half. Flatten each piece into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, 3/4 cup chopped

On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
While the crust is baking make the filling: In medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium-high heat until it browns, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly scrape in the butter mixture, whisking. Add the vanilla extract.
Spread the chopped pecans in the crust and pour in the corn syrup mixture. Top with the remaining 3/4 cup pecan halves. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pie is set.


  1. Pecan pie is one of my essentials for Thanksgiving!! I love it any which way! I actually just made mini pecan pies which were essentially cupcakes and they were some of the best cupcakes ever. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. That sounds like a great idea!


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