When Christmas rolls around on, my mother's family gathers at the farmstead home of my Grandfather.  It was here that I first roasted a turkey (brined), that I learned to start a fireplace blaze, that I shot a gun for the first time, that I would lock my little sister in an outhouse, and that I first tasted Pecan Pie.

My Grandmother made Pecan Pie for Christmas.  If a special occasion came around, she would make it then as well.  Pecan Pie was my Grandmother's opus - that and the time she dead-eyed a snake with a .22 from the back porch.  She passed a couple of years ago.  Her pie, remembered fondly by everyone in the family.  But no matter what, no matter who made the pie - it was Grandma's recipe.  It was never "Grandma's" pie.

A couple +one years ago I met my wife (again, long story).  It was the second of two Christmases Grandma spent in the nursing home - and there had been no pie that year.  The first year with my wife (before she was my wife), she offered to make the pies.  Pecan Pies.  She didn't think anything of it at the time - why would she?  She didn't know the importance the pie played in the Holiday - the sheer power it had in my family.  Hints poked out, though, as family would end phone conversations with "I hear you're making the pies this year."

My wife came through, though.  My Grandmother's Pecan Pie will always have a special place for me - but my wife's... oh, my wife's Pecan Pie.  This is the new pie, the pie everyone asks for.  It has a long history in her family and now that we are together it is our pie.  We don't hold much with secrets, and I don't hold much with solemnity.  Like my other Instructables, this will be a light-hearted affair.  But I wanted to take the time to say that this pie is something my wife has given me to keep my Grandmother's memory alive.  That's a wonderful gift, you know?

Step 1: Let's Begin - Ingredients

There is a reason Pecan Pie was a holiday affair in my family:  We are a frugal people.  We eat well, we have adventures, but we eat well in season and adventure when we can.  Pecans are expensive - especially good pecans.  Bad pecans are no bueno, let me tell you.  A bad crust, as well, will drag this pie down.  This is a thin slice pie.  It is rich.  It is delicious.  It is fairly easy to make.  But it can cost a bit.  That's why it's a holiday pie.

Let me tell you:  I tend to ramble.  I have dedicated Step Ten to the recipe proper - so skip to that if you think you don't need my guidance to awesomeness.

The Crust.
This crust needs to be flaky.  It needs to be tender.  Do not fool around here.  If you have an amazing crust recipe on your own - you can use that.  The crust I use is pretty darn good, though.  I adapted this one .  Right here at Instructables, so shout-out to the brilliant Scoochmaroo .  This crust calls for:

300grams All-Purpose Flour , unbleached (I use grams because smaller units =greater accuracy!)
         Use quality flour - I use Gold Medal.  King Arthur is good, too.  El Cheapo flour may work in gravies, but not in pie crust
1 teaspoon salt (kosher)
          You can use table salt, as that is what the original calls for.  The pie is very gooey and sugary - the salt in the crust will help counterpoint that, but don't go overboard.  Kosher crystals are uneven, so a teaspoon will be less salt.  You can easily add a little more if you need to.
2 Tablespoons sugar - White sugar - I wonder what brown sugar might do to this crust, though - it might moisten the dough, which could hurt or help.
12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter (cold , cut up) For goodness' sake, use real quality butter.
1/2 cup Shortening (or lard) - Cold , cut up.
           KEEP YOUR FAT COLD.
1/4 cup clear rum (icy cold)
          The original calls for vodka - but rum has a slightly sweet flavor that marries well with the salt of the crust and the filling.  You won't need top shelf, but don't get the bottom either. Off flavors will not aid your crust .
1/8 cup cold filtered water - Always use cold, filtered water for pie crust.  You may not even need this much water - but a few bad minerals will hinder your efforts. .

Along with this, you will need a food processor, a rolling pin, some parchment paper, and some plastic wrap.  You can make the crust ahead, easily, as you will learn in Step 3.

The Filling
This is where things get real.  You may do silly things with the crust, but the filling is the star here.  If you've made a poor crust, the filling won't save it, but it sure will try.  Don't fool around - get some quality stuff here.

1 cup Butterscotch chips - I am trying to find a way to make my own, but quality butterscotch chips are really what you need.  Don't get silly butterscotch "flavor" chips - try to find real butterscotch chips, the highest quality you can .
1 1/2 cups raw pecan halves - Pecans can be almost nine bucks a pound, but it's worth it.  I use halves, none of this silly chopping up.
1/8 cup brandy - we usually use VS for this - again, don't buy the cheapest, but you won't need the most expensive either.  I regrettably am no brandy expert. .
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
- real extract, please !
1/8tsp salt (kosher)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbls flour

A few notes:  You can use either light or dark sugar.  I used light.  If you are using light, for goodness sake use dark corn syrup.  If you use light syrup (which you can) use dark sugar.  If you use both dark syrup and sugar, you will be bestowed with both a rich, unbelievably tasty pie, and instant cavities.

Also, use real vanilla extract.  You can make it at home.  It's not altogether that expensive as often as its used.  There is a pretty substantial difference between the real and the imitation.  A lot of places sell a generic version that's still not "cheap," but is cheaper than a name brand.

You may be tempted to toast the pecans, but use plain, raw pecans here.  They will roast when the pie is baked.  If they are salted, it will completely wreck the pie.  Plain.  Raw.  That's it.

Homemade Whipped Cream:
Put a cup of whipping cream in a bowl and whip it up with 3 Tablespoons of sugar.  If you have a stand mixer, there is 0 reason you shouldn't make this any time you need whipped cream.

The Utensils
Food Processor - for the crust.
A Pie Pan - we use a deep glass pie pan for this, and you should, too.  A deep pie pan is the best investment, along with a little mini server/spatula.  You needn't get a brand new pan, or course, but I highly recommend it.  A Metal pan needs to be very high quality, though.  I've had this pie from metal pans and you can taste the tin/aluminum, whatever.  Totally gross.
Hand Mixer - My grandma always used a hand mixer - you probably do not have one. I think it was for the same reason some folks like hand-crank ice cream makers - you can "feel" when things are done.  A regular mixer, or a spoon works just as well.  You're combining here, not whipping or creaming.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a Montessori teacher who likes to make things and likes to teach the kids how to make things. I am new to woodworking ... More »
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