Recipe: Traditional Pecan Pie
After baking the Chocolate Pecan Pie yesterday, I decided to bake a traditional pecan pie. Pecan pie fillings generally have a texture between custard and gooey. They are also very sweet. This is how I make a traditional pecan pie.
I start by turning on my oven to preheat. I'll be baking the crust blind, so I preheat to 400°F. While the oven is warming up, I throw the pecans onto a pan and slip them in for ten minutes to toast, stirring once or twice.
After the pecans are toasted, I set them aside to cool and then chop them up. If you chop them while they are hot, the pecans will crumble. It's best to wait the few minutes for them to cool off.
Once the oven has been heated, blind bake the crust. This can be performed simply by lining the inside of the crust with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill the foil or paper lining with pie weights (ceramic beads that keep the crust from rising and puffing up when baked empty). If you don't have pie weights handy, simply pop holes in the crust (bottom and sides) with a fork. (Make sure the crust is thawed if you're using a frozen crust.) Slip the pie crust onto the center rack and bake until the crust is light golden (about 10 minutes). In the meantime, assemble the filling.
The ingredients I use in the filling are 4 tablespoons butter, 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup maple syrup. Purists will notice that I am deviating from tradition here. Normally you would use corn syrup, more sugar, and more butter. I like the flavor that maple syrup brings and I think that it's plenty sweet already.
Whisk the ingredients together with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to bring out the flavors.
It takes a bit of muscle to get it smooth because of the eggs, but keep at it until it's well blended. (Or use a mixer.)
Now, fold in the chopped pecans. The filling is ready now.
If everything was timed correctly, the crust should be light golden yellow to brown (ten minutes). Pull it out and reduce the oven temperature to 275°F. We're going to slow bake the pie to ensure the filling bakes evenly. A higher temperature might result in the center of the filling to still be liquid while the outside is overcooked.
Pour the filling into the crust and level it. Slip it into the middle of the 275°F oven and bake for 60 minutes.
The pie is done when you hold the sides and twist gently. The outer filling should not move and the inside should jiggle a little. Take it out and let it cool. This will allow the center to finish cooking and will let the pie set. Serve after fully cooled. I like to give it a bit of a refrigeration as well.
If you want to serve the pie warm, after the pie has been fully cooled, put it in an oven at 250°F for 15 minutes.
Traditional Pecan Pie (makes one 9 in. pie)
|Preheat oven to 400°F|
|9 in. pie crust||prebake||pour and level||bake 275°F 60 min.|
|6 oz. pecans, toasted||chop||mix|
|4 Tbs. butter||whisk|
|3 large eggs|
|1/2 cup granulated sugar|
|1 cup maple syrup|
|1/2 tsp. salt|