Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a beloved institution; if you have a sweet tooth, this is your dessert. Our recipe lightly toasts some of the nuts in the filling with a sprinkle of salt, which makes the flavors even richer and balances the sweetness of the filling. The crunchiness of the nuts is a pleasing contrast to the silky filling that surrounds them. This is a pie that wears a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream exceptionally well. Since it's such a rich pie, we recommend smaller portions, 10 slices from each pie instead of 8.

Our guarantee: This pie slices well after it's completely cool, and has just a hint of salt to balance out the sweetness of the filling.

Prep
20 mins
Bake
1 hr 10 mins
Total
1 hr 30 mins
Yield
one 9" pie
Pecan Pie

Instructions

  1. To make the piecrust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, and salt.

  2. Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.

  3. Dice the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.

  4. Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough

  5. When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's ok if there are some dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without creating a wet spot.

  6. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then pat it into a disk 3/4-inch thick.

  7. Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

  8. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan that's at least 2 inches deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's baked.

  9. Roll out the pastry for the pie to a 13-inch circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the edge by an inch all the way around. Tuck the edges up and under, and flute them. Put the lined pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.

  10. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently remove foil or parchment with the weights or beans. Set the crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

  11. Place the chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them very lightly with salt. When the oven temperature has fallen to 325°F, place the nuts in the oven to toast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until you can smell them. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.

  12. Prepare the filling: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, corn syrups, sugar, butter and vanilla. Stir in the chopped pecans, and pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Arrange the whole pecans on top.

  13. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, or until it's puffed and the center seems fairly set. Remove the pie from the oven, and allow it to cool on a rack. As it cools, the center will sink; that's OK.

  14. Cool completely before slicing; store in the refrigerator. Warm individual slices if you like before serving.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Chilling the crust after putting it in the pie pan does two things: it makes the crust flakier, by firming up the fat before baking. It also gives the gluten a chance to relax, so it doesn't snap back when it's baked.
  • When blind baking the crust, make sure some of the pie weights, or beans are nestled up against the sides. This will keep the crust from slumping down into the pan.
  • Nuts need to toast at low oven temperatures. They have a lot of oil in them, and toasting with high heat means burned nuts, which is an expensive loss. Take your time and bake them slowly.
  • Reader Chris Parks emailed us the following suggestions. Thanks, Chris! "Eliminate the 1/2 cup light corn syrup; 1/2 cup of dark is enough. Increase the sugar to 1 cup and increase to 4 eggs. Also, add a teaspoon of vanilla. The filling will be higher and fluffier. I use chopped pecans also. It's so much easier to cut the pie when the pecans are chopped. I hope you enjoy this recipe, I know it blows away my friends and family!"