Pecan Pie

For a long time I didn’t even think I liked pecan pie. I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce pecan…is it pea-can or pea-con? Either way, most pies looked like a congealed layer of goo topped with an impenetrable layer of pecan halves. Fortunately, there is a better way.

You can buy a pie crust from the grocery store, but I recommend making your own. For a pecan pie, it is best to partially bake the dough before pouring the pecan mixture into it.

Pie Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice water

Pie Dough Instructions:

1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and toss to coat with flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add chilled shortening and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, about four more 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over mixture and fold with a rubber spatula. Press down on the mixture until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 more tablespoon of water if it will not come together. Using your hands, shape dough into a 4 inch disk, dust with flour, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand a room temperature until pliable; 10 minutes if dough is chilled for 30 minutes, about 20 minutes if chilled overnight.

4. Roll dough on lightly floured work surface to a 12 inch disk about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to pie dish. Note: you can fold the dough in quarters, then place in pie pan and unfold to avoid rips.

5. Press dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with the other. Trim dough to 1/2 inch beyond pan lip. Tuck extra dough underneath itself along rim to build up the dough to 1/4 inch. Flute with fork or pinch to create the crust of your choosing. Refrigerate pie shell for 40 minutes and then freeze for 20 minutes.

6. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Press doubled square of aluminum foil inside dough shell and evenly distribute 1 cup of ceramic pie weights. Bake, leaving foil and weights, about 17 minutes. Remove foil and weights (carefully). Continue baking until golden brown, about 9 minutes more.

Pecan Pie Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans (8 ounces), toasted and chopped into small pieces.

Pecan Pie Instructions:

1. While pie dough is baking, melt butter in medium heatproof bowl set in skillet of water maintained at just below simmer. Remove bowl from skillet; mix in sugar and salt with wooden spoon until butter is absorbed. Beat in eggs, then corn syrup and vanilla. Return bowl to hot water; stir until mixture is shiny and hot to the touch, about 130 degrees. Remove from heat; stir in pecans.

2. As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 275 degrees. Pour pecan mixture into hot pie shell.

3. Bake until center feels set yet soft when gently pressed, 50-60 minutes. Transfer to pie rack; let cool completely, at least 4 hours. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This pie can be served at room temperature or slightly warm (15 minutes in a 250 degree oven). I usually let the pie cool completely and then slice it…upside down! No, I am not upside down, but the pie is. To do this, carefully place a cutting board on top of the pie and then flip it over. Then remove the pie pan and slice the pie with an electric knife. Replace the pie pan and flip again. This method allows for a clean cut and retains a clean look for each piece of pie.

This recipe comes from the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen.

 

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