A pretty modified (ie perfected) version of an old standby favorite in my family.
Step 1: Oh So Crusty
obviously, the first thing. You could use a regular pastry shell, or a shortbread crust or one of the kind you unroll but that is not as much fun. This is a pat-in-pan crust, similar to a shortbread.
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 stick (8T) softened butter
3 T cream
Preheat oven to 400F
Put flour, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and give it a quick whir to combine. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to the flour mixture. Pulse in the food processor until it looks like course sand. (I promise it tastes better) Add the 3 T cream and pulse until it holds a shape when you pinch it, play-doh consistency.
OPTIONAL: You can replace 1/4 C of the flour with pecan or another nut flour. You could also replace 1/2 C flour with bread or Whole Wheat flour for different tastes/textures.
Dump the contents into a greased pie plate. Mix briefly with your hands to make sure it is all combined. Spread it out and press/form it with your hands. Make a nice thick rim to be crimped. Use a flat bottomed glass to press the crust on the bottom. Crimp the rim with a fork or one of those fancy crimping tools. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork so it doesn't get bubbles underneath the crust.pop that bad boy into a 400F oven for 12-15 min, until nice and golden brown. Check it every now and again to make sure no bubbles are forming.
Step 2: Aw, Nuts!
Ok, the star of the show, pecans!
You need 2 Cups of pecan pieces or just a bit more of pecan halves. I like mine to still look like pecans so I start with halves and chop until they are all in largeish pieces. Spread on a baking sheet and put in the oven with the crust to toast.
They can burn quickly so keep an eye on them, don't ask.
Step 3: Sugar Overload Has Cometh
This is where there is some debate. My mom, being the loud southern black woman she is, would use dark KARO syrup and the darkest brown sugar she could find. Most resaraunts use granulated sugar and light corn syrup for a mellow taste that appeals to the masses. I never really like either so my compromise has been to use both, of course
PS dont forget to check your pecans
1 C light corn syrup
1 C Brown Sugar (or better yet, unrefined cane sugar)
1/2 t salt
3 lg eggs
1T dark rum or 1t vanilla extract
Melt the butter in the mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar off to one side. (dip a finger in the butter and grease your 1 Cup measuring cup before you measure the corn syrup) add everything else but 1 egg. This solitarty remaining egg needs to be divided. put the yolk in a small bowl and add the white to the rest of the filling.
Step 4: Even Crustier!
Your 12-15 minutes has passed, crust is lightly browned and pecans are fragrant and toasty. Remove both and turn the oven to 375F.
We are going to do an egg glaze to keep the crust from getting soggy.
Take that reserved yolk, add a pinch of salt and a dab(very small amount, ~1t) of water. Brush the whole of the crust with the egg glaze, making sure to get the rim. Return the crust to the oven to set the egg glaze, 1-2min.
Step 5: Fill Er Up, Earl
Prep work is done, time for the pie making.
Whisk up all the stuff in the bowl. now you have gooey goodness.
Add the pecans(don't burn yourself)and stir some more. Carefully pour into the slightly cooled crust, scraping the bowl well. Return to the oven and bake 35-45min until the middle just barely jiggles when you nudge the pie plate.
Remove and let cool on a rack for AT LEAST 1 1/2 hrs. If you don't the filling will run al over the place and just generally make a mess of the world.
If you made the rim of you crust too thin (I did) and it is already browned (like mine) you should put the pie crust shield on. Lacking a pie crust shield? Cover the crust with strips of aluminum foil.
Step 6: I Have Some Things to Say, Dangit!
A few notes:
Optional substitutions include exchanging the pecans for 1 1/2 c chopped walnuts and 1/2 c mini chocolate morsels or shaved chocolate. The walnuts float, the chocolate sinks and a sort of heaven results.
If you leave the baked pie at room temp after you cut it the filling will start ot weep. You could try adding 1 Tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch or an extra egg to remedy the problem. I keep it in the fridge and warm individual slices in the microwave.
Pecan pie is best warmed and served with Vanilla ice cream (with teh bean flecks) or fresh whipped cream. Custard is also delish. Cool Whip is an acceptable substitute.
Fair warning, if you buy one of those crusts in the foil pan, the 6oz crust is too small so you will have to modify the recipe or bake the extra filling in a greased ramekin.
Now get out there and bake some pie!
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