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Friday, November 22, 2013

Pecan Pie, 3 Ways

It's Friday and we are one day closer to T-Day. I will get straight to the point this time: we are talking about pecan pies. I've got 3 different ways to celebrate the southern belle, each with a unique and subtle twist. Here we go:

The traditionalist...

Blue-Ribbon Pecan Pie
Rubyane Surritte 


  • Flour, for dusting
  • ½ recipe Buttery Pie Dough
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups roughly chopped pecans, plus ½ cup halves


  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12" round. Fit into a 9" pie plate. Trim edges and crimp; chill 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oven to 350°. Whisk corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a bowl; fold in chopped pecans. Distribute filling evenly over dough; arrange pecan halves decoratively around the inside edge of the pie crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving.


Southern Pecan Pie with Spice Crust
Nick Malgieri

  • Sweet Dough Spice variation, for a 1 crust pie, see below
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  • 2 cups pecan halves or pieces, or a combination, about 8 ounces
  • One 9 inch Pyrex pie pan
  1. To make the filling, combine corn syrup and sugar in saucepan and stir to mix. Place over low heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. Remove from heat, add butter and allow butter to melt. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until liquid and whisk in salt and Bourbon. Whisk in syrup and butter mixture, being careful not to over mix. Allow to cool while rolling and forming the bottom crust.
  2. Set a rack at the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  3. Arrange pecans in crust. Skim foam from top of filling (or the top will have an unattractively mottled surface) and pour over pecans. With the back of a fork, press the pecans down into the filling so that they are covered.
  4. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and well puffed in the center. Cool the pie on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE: Use the Cocoa flavored Sweet Dough, above, instead of the Spice Crust. Add 4 ounces coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate to the hot syrup mixture along with the butter. Allow chocolate to melt and whisk filling smooth. Stir the pecans into the filling, rather than pouring it over them.

WALNUT RUM PIE: Replace Bourbon in filling with dark rum; replace pecans with walnut halves and pieces. Use the plain Sweet Dough, rather than the Spice Crust.

Substitute other nuts, such as hazelnuts or almonds, or a combination of several kinds of nuts.

Sweet Dough for Pie:

Ingredients:One-crust pie, about 10 ounces dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose bleached flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
Two-crust pie, about 1 1/4 pounds dough:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose bleached flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs

To mix the dough by hand:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl and stir well to mix. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and add to dry ingredients. Toss once or twice to coat pieces of butter. 
  2. Then using your hands or a pastry blender, break the butter into tiny pieces and pinch and squeeze it into the dry ingredients. Occasionally reach down to the bottom of the bowl and mix all the ingredients evenly together.
  3.  Continue rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse-ground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible. 
  4. Beat the egg(s) in a small bowl and pour over the flour and butter mixture. Stir in with a fork until the dough begins to hold together, but still appears somewhat dry. Scatter a teaspoon of flour on the work surface and scrape the dough out onto it. 
  5. Press and knead the dough quickly 3 or 4 times, until it is smooth and uniform.
To mix the dough in the food processor:
  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in work bowl fitted with metal blade. Pulse 3 times at 1-second intervals to mix. Cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and add to work bowl. 
  2. Process, pulsing repeatedly at 1-second intervals, until the mixture is fine and powdery, resembles a coarse-ground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible, about 15 pulses in all. 
  3. Add the egg(s) to the work bowl and pulse ten times or so, until the dough forms a ball. Scatter a teaspoon of flour on the work surface and scrape the dough out onto it. Press and knead the dough quickly 3 or 4 times, until it is smooth and uniform. 
  4. Press the dough into a disk (two equal disks for the larger amount of dough). Sandwich the disk(s) of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and press it into a 6-inch circle. Refrigerate the dough until firm, or until you are ready to use it, at least 1 hour.
Storage: Keep the dough in the refrigerator up to two days, or freeze it double-wrapped in plastic. Because the dough is thin, it will defrost quickly at room temperature when you intend to use it.


SPICE CRUST: Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each freshly grated nutmeg and ground cloves to the dry ingredients before mixing in the butter. Double the quantities for the 2-crust recipe.


Chocolate Pecan Pie 
Susan Spungen

Pie Dough
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Unsweetened whipped cream

  1. In a food processor, combine the 2 cups of flour with the sugar and salt; process to mix. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and process until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. With the machine on, slowly pour in the ice water and process just until it's incorporated. Transfer the dough to a bowl and knead a few times. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Let the dough soften slightly. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a round, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch it. Using scissors, trim the overhang to 1 1/2 inches. Fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Prick the chilled pie shell all over with the tines of a fork. Line the shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Fold the foil over the weights so the side of the pie shell is exposed. Bake the shell for 25 minutes, or until the side and rim are golden. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking the shell until the bottom is beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
  4. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring once. Transfer the pecans to a plate. In a small microwave-safe glass bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate in a microwave oven. Stir until blended and smooth. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and add the brown sugar. Stir in the eggs, corn syrup, vanilla and kosher salt, then stir in the pecans.
  5. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set in the center. Let the pie cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.
MAKE AHEAD The pecan pie can be refrigerated overnight. Serve cold or bring to room temperature.

Happy baking!

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