Despite growing up in what is nominally the South, I’ve never even considered making a pecan pie. Sure, I’ve eaten my fair share of it; in fact, the grandmother of one of my cousins makes the best pecan pies I’ve ever eaten (sometimes she adds chocolate chips to the pie, which is pretty mind-blowing). When I went to visit my parents recently, a friend of theirs (who happens to live in South Carolina) had given them a huge bag of pecans from the tree in her yard. My mom suggested making a pecan pie with them, and so we went for it.
First my sister and I spent some time shelling all of those pecans. It wasn’t easy, but we ended up with about two cups of pecans (with a little bit of shell mixed in). My mom had printed out a pecan pie recipe from the internet, but I started to get suspicious of it. The first step in the recipe was toasting the pecans — in the microwave. I scanned the rest of the recipe; it recommended melting the butter in the microwave, and I got a little fed up with all of the microwave shortcuts. We ended up using the recipe on the back of the bottle of corn syrup.
Basically you mix the corn syrup with brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, and some vanilla in a bowl. Then you add some pecans — the corn syrup recipe did not say to toast them so we did not. Then we poured the mix into the pie crust.
Yeah, so… we used a pre-made crust. Sorry. How do I justify that particular shortcut when I refused to use the microwave? Errr… Anyway first you have to let the crust thaw a bit and then you have to dock it; we used a fork to do it. Then we poured the mix right in. Then it went into a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Here’s the result:
Now here’s the important part: you’re supposed to let it rest for at least two hours. I could wait, and I cut into it about an hour and half in. About a week after making this pie I saw the episode of Good Eats in which Alton made blueberry pie. He casually mentioned that you have to let the pie cool completely because if you cut into it too soon the insides will fall into a puddly mess. That is in fact what happened to me. I knew there was a problem as soon as I cut into is and the liquid squished up around my knife.
Even 12 hours in the fridge couldn’t firm this pie up. It was also incredibly sweet. Oh well, it was still pie, and pie can only be so bad.
Here’s the recipe, via Karo Syrup (note that even they recommend using frozen pie crust):
1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.