Sweet, short crust wrapped around gooey, slightly bourbon-ey caramel, studded with toasted pecans. Totally sweet, totally indulgent, total perfection.
You know, I had never tried Pecan Pie before I made this. It’s another one of those Southern American delicacies that has never reached this corner of the Southern Hemisphere. There’s not much to say about it either: Alabama invented it, probably around the early 1900s, and it’s stayed the same ever since. Though when I was trying to find an appealing recipe, there does seem to be a lot of variation: though many use corn syrup. Now, corn syrup isn’t something we really get here, other than in speciality cooking stores. And I’m loathed to buy a tub of liquid glucose.
So this one uses Golden Syrup – Corn Syrup’s dark brown British (and Australian, and New Zealand) cousin. If you’re making this in America, and can’t find Golden Syrup (as I understand, it’s not easy to come by) then substitute in traditional corn syrup. Done. Easy.
I made the pastry by hand too, though of course you could just plop in a pre-rolled sheet and that would work just as well. Though sometimes it’s cool to make your own pastry – you know, if you’ve got a spare 10mins before you’re due to start pie making (and of course, half an hour to chill the dough.)
Anyway, it’s nearing the end of my semester one. Thank goodness. I’ve had a tough assignment which has caused me to but head with the tutor, which makes it even harder and I 100% cannot wait for the holidays to roll around. In fact, it’s frustration born of that assignment which prompted me to do some therapeutic baking and make this pie.
Perhaps it’ll help comfort you too?
Pecan Pie – Makes 1 24 cm pie
Prep time: 30mins Cook time: 40-45mins
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 125g butter, chilled, chopped
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon chilled water
- 70g butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup golden syrup
- large pinch of salt
- 1 cups chopped toasted pecans (some whole ones set aside)
- 1 to 2 tbs bourbon
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
To make the dough, stick the butter, flour and caster sugar in a food processor, and pulse a few times, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water, and blitz until the dough just starts coming together.
Pour the crumbly mixture into a zip lock bag, and knead from the outside to bring the dough together. This will prevent you adding too much flour to the dough by trying to pull the mixture together on a bench top, and also prevent the crumbs spilling everywhere and getting stuck in awkward places. Like under the kettle. Once the dough has come together in a ball, now you can turn it onto your work surface and knead a couple of times. Be careful not to over handle it. Shape it into a disk, stick it back in the plastic bag, and pop it in the fridge to chill for 30mins.
Preheat the oven to 190c, and have ready a 24cm removable bottom tart dish. Or whatever you like to bake your pies in.
Once chilled, very lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about a 5mm thickness. Drape the dough over the rolling pin, and lower it into the tart dish, pressing the dough into the corners. Trim the excess, and patch up and holes. Give the bottom a few pricks with a fork to prevent ballooning, lay a sheet of greaseproof paper over the top, and fill the centre with baking beans.
Pop in the oven for 18 mins, then remove the baking beans and allow the bottom to crisp up for a further 5 mins.
Remove from the oven, and turn it down to 160c.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup and salt, and bring to the boil. Make sure you keep stirring frequently, to ensure the sugar dissolves and to prevent any sticking on the bottom. Once boiled, remove from the heat and stir in the pecans (leave some whole halves aside for placing on the top, if you wish) and vanilla.
Pour a little of the hot mixture into the beaten eggs, whisking in to temper the mixture. Use a fine whisk to prevent the nuts getting caught – if you don’t have one, use a fork. Add more of the mixture, little by little, whisking consistently. Once you’ve transferred about a third of the sugar mixture to the egg mixture, return the whole lot back to the saucepan, and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tart shell, and dot the whole pecan halves on top. Pop the pie in the oven – be careful, the filling will be quite runny. Bake for 40-45mins, until the filling it set (it should still be slightly loose, and maybe a bit bubbly). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 30mins before serving. To reheat, just pop it in a warm oven for 15mins.