This pie is the perfect dish to bring to any holiday event, because pecan pie is such a classic, especially in the South. We love our biscuits, but we love our pies more. This is a recipe I got from my mom, whose pie still seems to turn out better than mine no matter how many times I try. We’ll just say she’s had more practice…
I don’t know about you, but pecan pie is a dessert that finds itself in the middle of my family’s dessert table for every holiday. Literally every holiday. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays. You name it. And I really think it’s because we have a recipe of gold. It’s so rich, and the pecans sort of float to the top which makes it look awesome and kind of gives the pie layers. The “top” layer creates a crunch that is needed because the rest of the filling is jelly-like and coagulated in the best sense. See for yourself.
I doubt my mom would even remember where she got the recipe we’ve been making it for so long. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll have it memorized in no time.
When I get my hands on a recipe, I’m notoriously terrible at using it as more of a guideline. Even when I bake. I know baking recipes shouldn’t be meddled with, because science happens in the oven, but I cannot help myself. Most of the time, I get lucky.
The dough I made was INSANELY delicious and flaky (using the guidelines from my mother’s recipe). I owe this to the almost pound of butter I used for it (let’s keep that a secret). But hey, it’s a pastry dough. Anyone who has watched any reality TV baking show (looking at you, The Great British Baking Show) would know. While rolling the dough out, I thought I felt a heart attack coming along, so I ate a carrot and felt better. Crisis averted.
I’m kidding, of course. Except I really did use that much butter for the dough. I even made little cinnamon sugar rolls with the leftover pie scraps.
To streamline the process, you most definitely don’t need to make the dough from scratch. Although I haven’t tried it, a store bought dough I’m sure would be fine. Some people are crust people, others care more about the pie filling. I’m a crust gal all the way, so that step is important to me.
In order to get an incredibly flaky crust, you need to take a few steps when preparing the dough:
- Use cold everything. The butter needs to be straight from the fridge and your water needs to be icy.
- And speaking of water, there’s no exact amount of water to use here. It may be different each time, so slowly add in water. I used about 8-9 tablespoons this time.
- DO NOT overwork your dough. Once you’ve added enough water for it to just come together, stop working it and chill it for at least an hour or two to let the gluten rest and the butter to get cold again.
- When cutting the butter into the flour, leave some big chunks in. You don’t want it to be completely cohesive, because your crust will be flat and won’t rise. If you see pads of butter when you begin to roll it out, you’ve done it right!
- If cutting in the butter takes a while, (it always does for me) pop it back in the fridge and let the butter become cold again.
Let’s move on to the filling. So, this is a pie. We know this. But it’s incredibly sweet. So much so that I cut back on the sugar just a bit when I mixed it. (You won’t miss it, I promise. I do this for my cheesecake, too!) Also, make sure to use dark instead of light corn syrup in the filling, because it will caramelize better.
Again, this pie does take some time, but you can make it easier by purchasing your crust. The filling doesn’t take long at all, and there’s just a few ingredients called for. Basically, I’m saying your headache will come from the crust, so if you skip that, you’ll have this pie made in no time.
- 6 eggs
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups dark corn syrup
- 2/3 cup melted butter
- 2 cups pecans, chopped
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cold
- Ice water
For the crust:
For the crust:
- In a large mixing bowl, stir flour and salt. Cut butter into squares, then cut into flour, leaving pea-sized chunks.
- Make a well in the middle of the bowl, and begin to add ice water by tablespoonfuls. Once your dough just comes together, lightly knead for 10-15 seconds. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour and for up to two days. This can also be frozen for up to four months.
- Unwrap chilled dough and set onto floured surface. Flour top of dough. Starting in the middle, roll the dough out. Take your upside-down pie pan and use it as a guide to make sure 1-2 inches of dough is around the sides. You want enough to cover the depth of your pan.
- Roll dough up on rolling pin and transfer to pie pan. Push dough down around the inside of the pan to cover all the surface. Cut extra dough using a knife or scissors, leaving half an inch or so for decoration. With one hand, take your index finger knuckle and push pie dough into the other hand’s thumb and index finger to create design on the crust.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat eggs thoroughly with sugar, salt, corn syrup and melted butter in a stand mixer. Add pecans and pour into unbaked pie shell.
- Bake for one hour or until a knife inserted between the middle and edge comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.