Even more shocking than the fact that I've never made a pecan pie before is how easy it is to make one. The hardest part was probably washing the pot I used to cook the corn syrup and the sugar together, which was a little sticky.
To be fair, I am a whiz at pie shells. You just have to take charge (gently) and not let the process intimidate you. A well floured counter is essential because a pastry crust that sticks to the counter is good for nothing. The pastry crust below only has three ingredients plus a little water. Patience is really the key here. Make sure to add the water sparingly and very slowly. Also, chill the dough for a full hour before you roll it out and place it in your pie pan.
The pie came out of the oven puffed and beautiful. So beautiful it almost looked professional, which I love. And the pie was absolutely delicious. How easy it was to make can be our little secret.
(I started with the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and then played around with it.)
Basic Pie Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Put the flour, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of water. Process for a couple of seconds. If the dough does not come together, add another tablespoon of water. Process again until dough comes together. (2 tablespoons of water should be enough. If it is not, add a little more water, a drop or two at a time until the dough comes together.)
Remove the dough from the bowl and press into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
1 basic pie crust (see above)
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Pecan halves to decorate
Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out dough with a rolling pie. Line a pie dish with the dough and trim edges. Crimp decoratively.
Put the sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until they are just mixed. Slowly pour the warm (not hot) syrup into the eggs, stirring briskly so that you don't allow the eggs time to scramble. Add the butter and vanilla to the bowl and stir until the butter has melted and is evening dispersed.
Pour the chopped pecans into the pie crust, then pour the filling on top. Decoratively arrange the pecan halves on top of the filling around the edge of the pie. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until it is a dark, caramel color with a slightly crispy surface.