Pecan Pie

Nothing says Thanksgiving and Christmas like a pecan pie. Let’s face it, folks, there is no way to make this scrumptious dessert healthy. It can, however, be made a little bit less unhealthy, with just a few tiny changes that no one will ever notice.  I was actually surprised when these tiny changes made an even tastier pie.

CBM - Slice

I’ve had this recipe for pecan pie for almost as long as I can remember, and yes, as usual, I have made minor changes. To decrease the Karo Syrup would decrease the volume, so I decreased the butter and the salt some, and the brown sugar just tiny a bit. Unfortunately, I cannot say I was able to make it into a “good for you” recipe, as all pecan pies are almost pure sugar, but it certainly does make the best pecan pie ever. Oh, and it’s pronounced “puh-kahn” with the stress on the 2nd syllable; not “pee-can” which sounds really vulgar.

Reduce the Brown Sugar Just a Bit

Normally directions regarding brown sugar say to pack it. To reduce the sugar content just a bit, I did not pack it tightly, as I usually do, but only lightly so.

Crust Getting Too Brown?

If the edge of the crust gets too brown before the pie appears to be set, put a pie crust shield or strips of aluminum foil over the crust edge to prevent burning

 The Recipe

CBM - Fresh from the Oven

Prep Time: 20 – 25 – minutes        Total Time: About 1 hour         Serves: 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Karo Syrup (light or dark)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 cup pecan halves (or enough to cover the surface of the pie)

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, and set aside.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Combine syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Mix well in electric mixer.
  5. Add beaten eggs.
  6. Pour into unbaked pie crust.
  7. Lay pecan halves on top (Optional: lay pecans in a series of concentric circles.)
  8. Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes.
  9. Allow to rest until firmly set.

If Cut While Warm, This is What Happens:

Pie Cut Too Soon - CBM cAllow the baked pie to rest until set firm. Unless, of course, you prefer “runny” filling as one of our girls does.
Pecan pie that is still a bit warm is soooo good. I cut this pie before it had cooled completely because we wanted to eat a piece while it was still warm. When the pie is still warm, the center has not yet jelled completely, and will ooze out from under the pecans, allowing them to slide off the top.
Before Baking, the Mixture Will Be a Light Caramel Color
Mixture - CBM cThe unbaked filling is a pale caramel color that will bake to a true caramel color. The fact that I used a bit less brown sugar and clear Kayro Syrup, lightened the overall color. If you prefer a very dark brown baked filling,  use dark Karo syrup.

Placing the Pecans

 Beginning Circles - CBM cIt takes a bit more time, but I definitely think it’s worth it to lay the pecan halves in a pattern of concentric circles. I know some people use broken pieces, and stir them into the filling mixture. They will float to the top, but it isn’t very pretty when cooked. As all the great chefs say, “presentation is everything”.
Ready for the Oven in My Grandmother’s Pie Pan

Pie Ready for Oven - CBMThis is my beautiful pecan pie, ready to cook in my grandmother’s Pyrex pie pan. This pie pan is over 50 years old.

For a pie that has a liquid or very thin filling prior to cooking, such as pecan pie, I line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil. The pan is for stability and easier handling; it also prevents spillage into my oven if the pie filling were to boil over. The foil keeps the pan clean so it doesn’t have to be washed.

A Little Trivia

Pecan Trees Grow Throughout the Deep South, and Get Quite Large
The “fruit” (actually the seed) of the pecan tree makes some of the best desserts, snacks, and even the best chicken salad you ever ate. Though high in fat, as all nuts are, they are good for you, and so very tasty. They grow on trees that branch fairly low to the ground, so they make wonderful trees for children to climb.

My grandparents used to have me climb their trees, and shake the limbs so the last pecans that were stubbornly hanging onto the tree would fall. As a child, one of my favorite preparation activities for Christmas was shelling pecans. I think I ate as many as I saved for pies, cakes, and cookies.

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One thought on “Pecan Pie

  1. Pingback: It’s Time for Holiday Baking | Cooking with Bo & Mia

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