Take it as proof that this is good pie: We polished it off before it occurred to me to snap a photo.
This one’s for you, S.
I’ve been making pecan pie for a long time. I like the syrupy goodness of the old-fashioned kind, full of toasted pecans and jiggly goo*. Homemade pastry is a must, because there’s nothing wrong with having high standards. When I consider ordering pie at a restaurant, I always ask if the crust was made in-house. If the server says no, I don’t order it. Wouldn’t life be simpler if there were more such litmus tests in the world, when a yes or no answer would determine with certainty one’s next move?
I can think of a few.
Is this made of wool?
Does he have an arrest record?
Are there beets in this?
Do you have any later appointments?
I made pecan pie for dessert after dinner with S and J last Wednesday. Today my husband and I discussed next week’s Thanksgiving menu, including pie choices. I wondered aloud if we should offer a substitute for pecan pie, since we’d both had plenty of it days ago. Butch insisted that pecan pie stay on the menu. You’re not tired of it? I asked. Butch was adamant. “I could eat pecan pie every day between now and Thanksgiving, and I wouldn’t get tired of it,” he declared. “It’s that good.”
Fine with me. I love it, too.
Maple Pecan Pie, adapted from a recipe in The New York Times Cookbook, by Craig Claiborne, copyright 1990 by Craig Claiborne. The original recipe used all dark corn syrup, half as many whole and untoasted pecans, and no salt. Fine-tuning over the years built a better pie. Last week I didn’t have enough dark corn syrup to make this without an extra run to the store. However, I did have a new bottle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Could I substitute? Yes, I could, and the pie was better for it, a little smoother tasting, with a tender middle. Lyle’s is an English product, but some local grocers stock it in my central Arkansas town. Maybe yours do, too. If you can’t find it, use 1 3/4 cup dark corn syrup with the 1/4 cup maple syrup.
Pastry for a single-crust pie
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (see headnote)
1/4 cup real maple syrup (don’t substitute with fake pancake syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 cups chopped, toasted** pecans (1 1/2 cups chopped pecans for those who like a higher goo to nut ratio)
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Fold under the edges and crimp with your fingers to make a stand-up, ruffled pattern.
Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until lightly beaten. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, then sprinkle the mixture over the eggs and whisk vigorously until well mixed. (Be sure to beat out any little pockets of dry flour that remain.) Pour in all the syrups, vanilla, and pecans, and whisk again until thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined pie plate, and bake 10 minutes at 425F. on a rack in the center of the oven. Reduce heat to 325F. and continue baking another 45 minutes, or until done. The filling of the finished pie will rise into a golden brown mound, which will settle and flatten as it cools.
Let the pie rest on a cooling rack for at least several hours before serving, so the goo has a chance to set. You can make this a day ahead, too.
* *To toast pecans, preheat oven to 350F., and spread out desired amount of whole nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before using. I always toast a lot of nuts at once, saving the extras in the fridge for future use.
*Thank you, J, for supplying the technical pie-making term, “goo.”