Cross Mason-Dixon Pecan Pie

I’m in the beautiful Bay Area this week, being shamelessly wined & dined by some of my favorite people in the ‘verse. As the logic goes: since I’m being exposed to such culinary excess, you should be too. Here, have some pecan pie.

pecan pie

Pecan Pie is happy to see you

But first, let me implore you to not call it a “PEE-can” pie. I’m used to most regional pronunciation differences, but this one just sounds dirty. I don’t want my dessert to resemble a urine receptacle even in name; it’s a “peh-KAHN” pie. Please say it right when you’re in my kitchen.

This, along with an affinity for barbecue and bourbon, is a bit of southern heritage I happily carry along with me. However, being a product of a cross Mason-Dixon line union, my yankee side does object to the overwhelming sweetness in most pies I try nowadays. The cloying taste of over-processed corn syrup (there’s a redundant term if I’ve ever heard one) detracts from the nutty earthiness of the rest of the filling. So I cut down on the sugar, but more than that, I get rid of the corn syrup entirely.

Of course, you’ll need a suitable replacement. While you could probably use honey or maybe agave, I recommend something a little more adventurous: maple syrup. To your anticipated doubts: yes, really! It maintains much sweetness, but tempers it with a deeper flavor. It also helps accentuate the nuts over the eggs & brown sugar. To quote my father, whose approval the pie has received, “it makes it less ‘pure sweet;'”  “it’s much more interesting.”

On a side note, I also tweaked the pie crust recipe a bit. While the original called for the use of vegetable shortening, I ditch that in favor of a little more butter. You’ll need to add a little more water to get the consistency right, but on the whole, you get a more favorful, nuanced taste with a less oily texture. Win-win.

Pecan Pie
modified from the Silver Palate cookbook

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (I would cut this even further, but you may need another dry thickener, like cornstarch or flour)
  • 3/4 cups maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shelled pecans, chopped
  • 9-in unbaked piecrust (recipe below)

Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough.

Beat the eggs well in a large bowl. Add brown sugar, syrup, salt, melted butter, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans into the dough-lined pan; pour the egg mixture over them. For decoration, you could arrange 1/3 cup of halved pecans around the edge of the filling, next to the crust.

Set the pie on the middle rack of the over and bake for 10min. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30min longer, until the filling is set.

As it cools, make a mint julep. At the very least, pour yourself some bourbon. Then enjoy everything.

Pie crust
modified from the Silver Palate cookbook

  • 2, 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbs butter, chilled and cut into 1 Tbs slices
  • ice water

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You’ll have to work quickly, using only your fingertips, to keep from melting the butter.

Sprinkle on some water, 2-3 Tbs at a time, until the dough starts to come to together. Roll it into a ball, wrap it up, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it overhangs the pie plate by 1-2 inches. Carefully place it in the plate and crimp the edges.

  1. Karen said:

    very tempted to try this except that dessert is not something the waistline needs these days.

  2. I 100% approve sir!
    good call on the maple syrup addition, and the swap out for more butter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: