Practice Makes Pies: Part III, We Have A Winner

It's getting down to the wire for Thanksgiving - how did November disappear so quickly?
Given the lack of success with last week's pie, I was determined to make one more effort and hopefully evade goopiness. Let's recap:
The crust thing was also really starting to get to me. I pre-baked, I partial-baked, and this time I thought, less effort - we'll see what happens and I didn't bake the darn thing at all. I tried out one more recipe, a basic butter flaky pastry crust from the Essentials of Baking. It came together rather well, had an even appearance, and rolled out dutifully enough. I shielded it from the beginning of baking. The crust didn't shrink, and it didn't overbrown. Certainly, it seems, not baking is the way to go for pecan pies.

The recipe itself became sort of a Hail Mary last effort. I couldn't decide on a particular recipe, so I took the parts that sounded best and just assembled them all together. Thankfully, this is not too difficult an effort with pecan pie, which seems to remain largely the same in terms of ingredients and differs only with respect to proportions. The one tip I'd really like to pass on was from the first effort with Paula Deen, who mixes the melted butter with the sugar before adding other ingredients. Not only does this make the sugar easier to mix with everything else, it also ensures that the butter does not unmelt and harden into little clumps if for instance the eggs are not fully at room temperature. Without the butter seizing like that, the mixture is easier to stir and the butter is more evenly distributed in the filling. I'm a fan.

I used light brown sugar and corn syrup because I very much liked the caramel buttery taste of the last unfortunate pie, but also because they were what I had on hand. Contrary to what I would've thought here, it doesn't result in a much lighter filling - which is a good thing, it looks like what I imagine pie should look like. There's no cross-sectional pictures so you'll have to take my word, but the filling held on its own, slicing beautifully. Joe, my taste-tester this time around, noted that it seemed if anything just slightly overbaked, but this is easily remedied and I'll take it out just a bit sooner. ladies and gentlemen, I'm convinced of this one.


unbaked 9-inch pie crust
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
4 Tbsp butter
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
3 large eggs, room temperature or close to it
1/2 tsp vanilla salt or regular salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp bourbon

Toast the pecans in a skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant, about five to seven minutes, turning every so often so that they do not brown or burn. Remove from heat and let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Measure the sugar into a large bowl. Melt the butter and add to the sugar; stir until the butter has been absorbed. Add and mix in the corn syrup, eggs, salt, vanilla, and bourbon until the mixture is smooth. Add the toasted pecans and gently stir to coat.
Pour the mixture into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust. Place a pie shield or place strips of foil over the edges of the pie to prevent over-browning. Bake the pie in the 350 oven until the filling has set (if you're good enough, you can go by whether the middle jiggles or not; I erred last week and so this time tested the filling by inserting a knife in the center), about 45-50 minutes. Remove the pie pan to a rack to cool. Allow to sit at least an hour before slicing and serving.


Blogger Brilynn said...

The crust looks like the perfect colour, I'd love a piece of this pie!

11:41 AM  

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