Introduction: Classic Southern Pecan Pie

A good old fashioned pecan pie is a staple in the South, and there are very few things that taste better or more like home, hearth, and holidays. Mini versions make a wonderful breakfast, and regular slices are great any time, particularly warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Step 1: Gathering Your Supplies

For the pie crust:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
  • 5-10 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, or chopped pecan pieces
Tools you will need:
  • mixing bowls
  • wooden spoon
  • 9" deep-dish pie dish
  • parchment paper
  • rolling pin

Step 2: Great Crust Is the Foundation to a Great Pie

A few important things to note before beginning your crust - the shortening and butter must be chilled, before beginning. If they begin to warm and melt while being worked with, pop the pastry into the freezer for a few minutes to chill and solidify before working with it again.

Butter a 9-inch pie plate or skillet and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening and butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. For a tutorial on how to cut fats into the flour, this video from allrecipes.com demonstrates a few different methods: http://allrecipes.com/video/70/how-to-cut-in-butter/

Gradually add enough ice water to the mixture while mixing with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough is formed.

Divide the dough in half, and working one half at a time, turn onto a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Lightly flour the top of the pie dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Rolling from the center, roll until the dough is about a ⅛-inch thickness. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, fold the dough over and lay across the pie plate and remove the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Press the pie dough lightly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges as desired, and cover the pie plate with a piece of the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to overnight.

These are a few video tutorials demonstrating different ways to design your edges, but you can feel free to experiment and combine things until you find a design you like. For this pie, I decided to cut out some leaves with tiny cookie cutters and overlap them along the edges.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaG9IqLjRhw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcQGja6jpbE

Step 3: Chock Full O' Nuts

Preparing the pie and baking is the easiest part of this pie. Expect everything else to go quickly now.

Stir together eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and salt; stir in pecans. Pour filling into the prepared piecrust. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until set. Serve warm or cold.

For this pie, I forgot to melt the butter for the filling. After a very careful taste test of the pie, I will verify that my slip up appears to have had little to no bearing on the taste of the filling. After a second taste test, I can confirm with certainty that the pie is delicious and very forgiving of minor mistakes.

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