Pecan Pie

I’m usually underwhelmed by pecan pie, and I say this as a lifelong fan of pecans. My mom used to bring pecans back from Arkansas—by the GALLON. I used to sneak out to the garage, pop open the deep freeze, and snack on them straight from the ziploc bags. Anyway, most pecan pies I’ve had have too little nut and too much syrup. This recipe from Damon Lee Fowler’s New Southern Baking doesn’t. It’s a solid, gimmick-free pecan pie. Skipping the corn syrup for brown sugar adds more caramel notes. (That’s also the secret to my great-grandmother’s chess pie.) Toasting the pecan brings out more flavor. And bourbon because bourbon.

Bake-wise, starting at a higher temp gets heat into the pie, and the lower finish gives the eggs time to set without overcooking. It’s pretty much the same idea as Alton Brown’s Turkey.

When baking this pie, I don’t measure the pecans. I pour enough into the baked shell, filling it nicely, then transfer that amount to a baking sheet to toast. Also, for the particular pie pictured, it’s made with a mix of light brown, dark brown, and toasted sugars—a third each, because that’s all we had in the kitchen. That was quite possibly even better.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 9” Standard pastry shell, blind baked.

Filling

  • 2 oz Butter, unsalted

  • 3 Eggs

  • 1½ C Light Brown Sugar, packed

  • Pinch Salt

  • 2½ Tbls Bourbon/Rum/Brandy (Optional)

  • ½ tsp Vanilla

  • ½C Pecans, toasted

Directions

  1. Toast pecans—375˚, about ten minutes, stir every few minutes—till you smell a toasty aroma and they show some color.

  2. Melt butter, cool.

  3. Beat eggs, stir in sugar till dissolved.

  4. Add butter, pinch of salt, vanilla, bourbon, butter.

  5. Fold in toasted pecans.

  6. Bake 10 minutes at 375˚.  Reduce to 325˚ and bake till set.

  7. Cool & Eat