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Eric’s "Touch of Maple" Pecan Pie

Posted by Eric (November 22, 2007 at 12:18 pm)

Pecan PieI’ve been pretty busy lately, but things have slowed down enough that I managed to brew beer a couple of weeks ago—it’s now in the keg—and to bake a couple of pecan pies for Thanksgiving.

In researching recipes for my first pecan pie a couple of Thanksgivings ago, I was dismayed to find that nearly every recipe calls for corn syrup, a detestable substance, especially in its “high fructose” version, which I find is in nearly everything. What’s more, it appears that the original recipe for pecan pie was inspired by Karo brand corn syrup.

Never mind. I found a recipe calling for maple syrup and used that instead. The pie was quite good, but too mapley to satisfy that specific pecan pie buzz, so for my next Thanksgiving pecan pie and used some stuff called Log Cabin Syrup, which is about 50/50 cane sugar and maple syrup. I had tried to no avail to find “golden syrup”—pure cane syrup.

For this year’s pie, I found another cane/maple blend called Country Forest Gourmet Syrup, which is 82% cane and 18% maple—perfect. I also discovered that I’d left no handy notes from previous pies, so I had to rebuild the recipe from various recipes online, some of which I recognized as having contributed to my past recipes.

My method with such research is to use the “most” of anything that I find in any one recipe, especially when it comes to butter. People are afraid of butter, but the best thing I think you can say about a pie is that it took half a pound of butter to make it.

Here’s the recipe:

Pie crust

  • 1 C unbleached flour
  • 8 T butter (1 stick)
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 T suger
  • Approx. ¼ C ice water

I’m not going to tell you how to make pie crust. It’s too much of an art. Ask your mother or grandmother to show you, but ignore what they say about lard and use butter instead. They say that lard makes a flakier crust, but butter makes a butterier crust, and that’s what we want. Don’t use shortening—for this or anything else, except maybe greasing an axle in an emergency.

I learned to make pie crust from my wife, April. I make pie rarely enough that I have to call her into the kitchen every time for a refresher course and careful monitoring of the process.

Pie filling

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c cane and maple syrup
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 T flower
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ¼ t salt
  • 2 c roasted pecans
  • 9″ pie crust (see above)

To roast the pecans, place them on a shallow baking sheet and in a 250° oven for 1 hour. Reserve eight nicely formed pecan halves for the top, and crush the rest of them moderately by hand. This is important; your hands need to be thoroughly lubricated with pecan oil for the remaining steps to be properly fulfilled.

Now mix everything except the roasted pecans (and pie crust, silly) in a big bowl. My byword is that you can’t have too large a bowl for mixing. Whip it all up, and then pour into the pie crust shell. If you’re making more than one pie (as I always do), be careful to whip everything up as you’re distributing the filling, since the it tends to separate if left sitting for more than a few seconds—you don’t want all the eggs and butter in one pie and all the sugary stuff in the other.

Put the crushed pecans into the bottom of the pie shell, evenly distributed, and pour the filling over them. Or, if you get these two steps reversed (as I did this time), use a spatula to pat the pecans down into the filling. Some people let the pecans sort of float on the filling, for some reason. That sounds like madness to me.

Place the eight Platonic pecan halves at eight points on the compass around your pie. If you’ve got some leftover crust batter, you can make a little maple leaf like I did, or other delightful decoration. Artistic types might attempt a flowing cornucopia. The less skilled might settle for an apple, though this would be an odd choice for a pecan pie.

Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes, and let cool overnight.

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8 Responses to “Eric’s "Touch of Maple" Pecan Pie”

  1. JohnS. says:

    Glory to Jesus Christ!

    Eric,

    Here is another possible substitute for dreadful HFC …

    http://www.steensyrup.com/

    John

    Comment posted November 23rd, 2007 at 7:15 pm
  2. james says:

    Good to have you back blogging, Eric.
    Pecan pie sounds delicious. will try that.
    but what’s the ‘T’ and ‘t’ – is that tablespoon and teaspoon, or some other weird american measurement system?

    James

    Comment posted November 29th, 2007 at 6:07 am
  3. JOY says:

    HOW DO I KEEP MY PECAN PIE (AND CRUST) FROM STICKING TO PIE PLATE WHEN SERVING???? THOUGHT I WAS A DECENT BAKER, BUT CAN’T ACCOMPLISH THIS.

    Comment posted December 30th, 2007 at 10:29 pm
  4. Eric says:

    James—Yes: “T” is “tablespoon” and “t” is “teaspoon”. I have no idea what these would be in the godless metric system. Once when I lived in the UK (Nottingham, 1986-7), an American friend and I were seized with the desire to make chocolate chip cookies. Somehow it worked out, though we had to guestimate everything.

    Joy—I can suggest a couple of things. Number one is a good pie pan, preferably glass. The pie still might stick a bit, but glass helps a lot. Next, a good pie spatula that can “bite” under the pie (versus a plastic one). Often the first piece is going to be a bit ragged all the same.

    Comment posted January 3rd, 2008 at 12:01 pm
  5. Diane says:

    Eric, what kind of “flower” do you use in this recipie for the pie filling? 😉

    Comment posted January 28th, 2008 at 9:18 pm
  6. Eric says:

    Eye ooze wight floor.

    Comment posted January 29th, 2008 at 5:17 pm
  7. Michelle says:

    AT LAST, I’ve got a copy of the secret recipe!

    Comment posted June 18th, 2008 at 11:26 am
  8. Denise says:

    I’m on a diet right now, thanks a lot, Eric!
    Maybe by Thanksgiving I will have reached my weight goal and reward myself with a slice of this gourmet version of a classic.
    I grew up with the Karo recipe and Crisco in the crust. Mmmm. My tastebuds not being as highly refined as some, I could really go for a piece of Grandma Nonee’s corn syrup & axle grease pecan pie right now! Fortunately, it’s not the right season.
    Hope to see you at Renee’s at Thanksgiving, and I hope you bring pie!!
    P.S. I thought your hat tip to April on the crust-making was sweet.

    Comment posted July 27th, 2008 at 1:47 pm
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