This classic pecan pie is so deliciously decadent, I bet you'll find yourself wandering into your kitchen just to sneak bites of it straight from the pie plate.
When Stephen and I went through that periodically-frustrating-but-ultimately-rewarding experience of wedding planning, we invested a lot of time thinking about the food we'd serve at our brunch reception. At one point, we even considered having a variety of wedding pies for dessert rather than a traditional tiered wedding cake because a) we both really love pie and b) pie seemed to better fit the overall vibe we were going for.
But, in my excitement about the possibility of pie on my wedding day, I shared this idea with my grandmother during one of our weekly phone dates, and she didn't like the idea AT. ALL. She thought I was kidding at first, but when I assured her that the idea was a serious one, she threatened to stay home and skip the wedding altogether.
I believe her exact words were "I'm not coming if there's no cake."
So... Stephen and I scrapped the whole wedding pie plan and went with cake after all. And it was a fantastically delicious cake -- a golden layer cake with a mixed berry filling and buttercream icing -- decorated simply and elegantly with purple ribbon and an assortment of purple and yellow flowers.
But, as beautiful as that cake was, part of me still wishes that we went for the pie. Because pecan pie would have been an option. Not only because it's one of my favorite varieties of pies, but also because it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies.
Despite my love for pie, I've only ever baked them around Thanksgiving, typically apple and typically following my father's lead. I've put so much pressure on myself to make the perfect pie crust that I save most of my pie-eating adventures for when Stephen and I go out to eat.
It dawned on me that I was being silly because pre-made pie crust exists for people like me. I mean, I use it to make quiche all the time (see here and here), so, obviously I could use it to make pie.
I wanted to make a traditional pecan pie, so I turned to the very fitting cookbook Pecans (a gift I received as a thank-you for being a keynote speaker) for guidance. Kathleen Purvis' recipe gave me some great tips and didn't make me feel badly about using refrigerated pie crust (because "who doesn't sometimes?").
To give my pie a little something special, I created a fluted edge with my fingers. If you prefer a crimped edge, then just press the tines of a fork onto the crust and until you've created tiny ridges all the way around.
After I prepared the crust, I spread the pecans evenly on the bottom. Again, since I was trying to make this pie really special, I toasted the pecans beforehand to draw out their natural flavor and let them cool before putting them in the crust.
Then I gently poured in the filling. Originally, I wanted to create a beautiful design with the pecans, but I got distracted by the intoxicating aroma of just-toasted pecans (and the sounds of a crying Caroline blaring out of the baby monitor) and forgot all about being artsy.
I placed the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (to catch any spills) and slid the pie into the oven to bake.
The next hour or so was agony. I just wanted the pie to hurry-up-and-be-ready-already so I could have a slice.
But no. The pie would not be rushed. It needed time to come out just right.
So it could come out like this.
Pass me a fork. Let me at it!
But no. The pie would not be rushed. It needed time to cool completely so it would be just right.
So it would be like this.
And, oh my goodness, like this.
And... Remember that Vanilla Bean Ice Cream I made? The ice cream I was talking about earlier this week?
What do you think I did with it? Do you think I put a scoop on top of my piece of pie?
You bet your sweet bippy I did.
And it was goooood.
PS. In case you were wondering, my grandmother did go to our wedding... and she had two pieces of cake. ;-)
Do you like pie? What's your favorite kind? Let me know in the comments!
Classic Pecan Pie
- 1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust, unbaked
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Dust a 9-inch pie plate with flour and carefully lay in the pie crust, easing it into the bottom. If desired, flute or crimp the edge.
- Spread the pecans in an even layer on the bottom of the pie crust. Place the pie plate on the baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and melted butter and whisk until all of the ingredients are fully combined. [See here for tips about substituting corn syrup.]
- Gently pour the filling mixture over the pecans and then slide the baking sheet onto the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake the pie for 55-60 minutes. You want the filling to be a little loose in the center when you pull the pie out. If the edges are browning too quickly, place strips of foil over them to prevent them from burning.
- Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving, preferably with ice cream on top. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go // adapted from Pecans
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