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 (170 g) 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.
It is often faster for me to weigh out ingredients than to try to measure with liquid and dry measuring cups, so I'll list the ingredients in the units which I use in my own kitchen here and in both volume and mass below. The ingredients I use in the filling are 55 g butter, 3 large eggs (150 g total), 100 g granulated sugar, and (315 g) 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.
Melt the butter and whisk the ingredients together with 3 g of table 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.}?>
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. (170 g) pecans, toasted||chop||mix|
|4 Tbs. (55 g) butter, melted||whisk|
|3 large (150 g) eggs|
|1/2 cup granulated sugar|
|1 cup (245 mL or 315 g) maple syrup|
|1/2 tsp. (3 g) salt|
Update on July 30, 2011: After baking three of these pies in rapid succession, I have a couple more tips. I used already chopped pecan pieces (available in the bulk section of my local supermarket) to save the (sometimes messy) step of chopping the pecans. If you're lucky enough to have chopped pecans available for sale, feel free to use those. The amount of time it takes to toast them seems to vary from day to day. Just spread them out in a pan and let them toast while the oven is preheating and check on them every few minutes until they are fragrant. Then check on them more often and remove them before they begin to burn. As long as you can smell the strong aroma of toasted pecans, it's good. I store my maple syrup in the fridge, so it's cold enough to immediately turn the butter back into a solid which makes it difficult to whisk. Microwaving the maple syrup after measuring out the quantity you need until it is warm (90-100°F) works well, just make sure it doesn't get too hot (150°F) or the eggs could cook/curdle. Finally, I followed the advice of an anonymous commenter below and instead of mixing the pecans in before pouring the filling into the fie crust, I simply put the toasted pecans in the pie crust and poured the filling over it. This was faster and easier because the pecan pieces didn't cause the filling to pour funny and I could easily make the filling come out in a steady controllable stream.
Update on July 31, 2011: I discovered last night that my traditional pecan pie has the exact same ingredients and quantities as one of the subvariants of Pecan Pie published in The New Best Recipe by the editors Cook's Illustrated Magazine. Although, The New Best Recipe was published after my recipe was posted online, I suspect that whoever I got my recipe from years before ultimately got the recipe from an earlier printing of the Cook's Illustrated recipe. So, if you like this pecan pie recipe, be sure to check out the cookbook or the magazine!}?>