After being spoiled by generations of fabulous homemade pie bakers, it occurred to me the other day that I could be classified as a pie snob...but really, after you've had fabulous homemade crust and luscious homemade pie fillings all your life, I like to think that we really just appreciate a REALLY GOOD piece of pie!
And if you're like me, you'll appreciate everything that goes into making this Classic Pecan Pie. Toasted pecans...to really bring full flavor to the nuts - because let's face it, isn't that what this pie is all about? Unless of course you're talking about the silky-smooth caramel filling that holds all of these delicious pecans together! This pie doesn't just LOOK crazy beautiful, it is pecan pie perfection...
If you've ever had a quick, easy or pre-packaged pecan pie you'll know exactly what I mean. If the filling is lumpy, glumpy, gelatiny and just lacking in flavor and so sweet that it hurts your teeth, you know that those monstrosities really aren't ever worth a second bite.
From one pecan pie lover to another, it is well worth your time to start with a homemade buttery and flaky crust, pre-baked for just a few minutes to keep the crust from getting soggy and to guarantee a light and flaky pie crust.
Toasting the pecans maximizes the flavor and tender crunch. And quality filling ingredients (fresh butter and farm fresh eggs, dark brown sugar, Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract) cooked on the stove to the perfect temp before adding the toasted nuts, well, it may seem like some extra steps, but once you try a bite of this you will know that it was worth every extra minute you put into it!
This is the Classic Pecan Pie you've been dreaming about! And bite after delicious bite, you'll be so happy that you took the time to make it right!
Of all the pies that we make for Thanksgiving, this is the one that EVERYONE wants a sliver of. Hope that you'll give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!
1-1/4 cups (6-1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled)
4 tablespoons Crisco vegetable shortening (cut in half and chilled)
2 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
2 tablespoons ice water
Egg Wash: 1 egg (room temperature, beaten with a fork until frothy)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (room temperature)
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans (toasted and chopped into small pieces)
Additional whole pecans for garnish
HOW I MAKE THIS:
1. MAKE PIE DOUGH: Process ¾ cup flour, sugar and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Sprinkle butter and shortening on top and continue processing until mixture begins to form uneven clumps with no remaining floury bits (about 10 seconds).
2. Scrape down sides of bowl and redistribute dough around blade. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup flour over dough and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed into pieces around bowl (4 to 6 pulses).
3. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and ice water over mixture. Using stiff silicone spatula, stir and press down until it sticks together.
4. Turn pie dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and shape into round 4-inch shape. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
5. Toast the pecans on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, tossing them halfway thru. After they have cooled, chop into desired pieces. I usually toast a few additional pecans to use as garnish for the top of my pie.
6. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow to soften slightly (about 10 minutes) before rolling.
7. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on floured counter.
8. Roll dough loosely around your rolling pin and unroll into the pie place, leaving at least a 1-inch overhand on each side. Working in a circular motion, ease dough into place by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with the other hand. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
9. Lightly sprinkle flour into bottom of glass or ceramic pie plate (this will keep your crust from sticking to the bottom of the pie plate.)
10. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using your thumb and forefinger, flute and crimp edge of dough evenly around pie plate. Use a fork to prick the dough all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate again until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
11. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 425 degrees. Remove pie plate from refrigerator, brush the crust edge with an egg wash, and then your choice:
12. FOR PIE FILLING: While crust is baking, melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, with barely one inch of water in the lower pan, maintained at just below a simmer – make sure that water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
13. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed. Slowly whisk eggs into the sugar mixture, then whisk in corn syrup and vanilla, stirring constantly until smooth.
14. Return the bowl to hot simmering water; continue heating and stir until the mixture is shiny and hot to the touch, about 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat; stir in the pecan pieces.
15. As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 275 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Pour the pecan mixture over the back of a spoon into the warm pie shell (this will prevent your crust from cracking).
16. Bake on the middle rack until the pie looks set and yet soft, like gelatin, when pressed gently with the back of a spoon, 50 to 60 minutes. Rotate pie plate half way thru backing.
17. Transfer the pie to a rack; cool completely until filling has set (2 to 4 hours).
18. It is easiest to slice the pie when it is chilled, but best served at room temperature or warmed slightly.
NOTE: DO NOT STORE IN AN AIR-TIGHT CONTAINER OR THE PIE WILL LIQUIFY!
YIELD: One 9-inch pie
(Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated and Brown Eyed Baker.)
Originally posted November 2012; revised and reposted Nov 2016 & Nov 2017
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