Monday, August 25, 2014

In the Kitchen with Jason (and David): Southern Pecan Pie

I've only had an encounter with pecan pie once before in my life, and that was a day-old pie at a bakery I used to work at so I didn't have a lot to go on with this.

This pie turned out fantastic. With that being said, boy are pecan pies rich! Don't think you are going to have 2 pieces of this pie in one sitting; it just won't happen.

A side note about the pie crust: I have made a few different recipes for pie crust and this one seemed very complicated for no real improvement over other recipes, so if you have a favorite pie crust recipe, feel free to use that instead of this one.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 stick butter, diced
  • An unknown quantity of very cold (ice) water
    • This will be dependent on the hardness of the water, the humidity of your kitchen, your elevation compared to sea level, and a bunch of other scientific things that I have no clue about.
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted
    • I missed this toasted part and made the pie with straight from the bag pecan halves and it turned out fine.
  • In a food processor bowl, measure in the first 3 ingredients and pulse a couple of times to mix it all together.
  • Add the butter and pulse about half a dozen to a full dozen more times. 
  • With the machine running, add in 3 Tbsp of the water. If the mixture does not hold together, keep adding 1 Tbsp at a time of additional water until it just holds together.
  • Take the dough from the machine and compact it (with your hands) into a ball.
  • Flatten the ball into a puck-like shape.
  • Wrap the dough-puck in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about an hour.
    • Note: If your wife tries to convince you that leaving it in the fridge overnight will be just fine and that you should go to bed: do not listen to her! The dough-puck will become as hard as a hokey puck and you will need to start over.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface.
  • Roll it out into a 13-inch round shape.
  • Transfer the pie crust from the counter to a 9-inch pie pan.
  • Cut off any excess, leaving about 1/2 an inch overhang.
  • Fold under the overhang and crimp with your fingers.
    • If you have the skill, you can even crimp it decoratively, but I don't have that skill yet.
  • Refrigerate the crust for another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line the crust with buttered aluminum foil and fill with dried beans.
    • I found that you only really need to fill the bottom with beans. Also, if you have pie weights, they will work instead.
  • Bake for 7 minutes, then remove the beans and foil.
  • Bake for about 5 more minutes, until the middle of the crust is a golden brown.
  • If the crust bubbles up, press it back into shape with a fork.
  • Let the pie crust cool as you make the filling, but leave the oven on.
  • Whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a bowl until blended.
  • Whisk in each egg, one at a time.
  • Stir in the vanilla and salt and then fold in the pecans.
  • Pour the pecan mixture into the prepared crust and bake for about 50 minutes, until the center is just set.
  • Let the pie cool for 30 minutes.
The recipe also included a whipped topping, but I don't think it is needed and I omitted it when making the recipe.

Please enjoy!

-Chef Jason

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