I’ve been making at least one pecan pie per year for quite a long time now. This is my own creation, following a long evolution that started with a recipe for pecan pie in the Culinary Art Institute "New Orleans" pamphlet-style cookbook (1959), which my mother gave to me before I was married. The orange zest is a relatively recent addition. We received as a holiday gift several years ago a package of gorgeous pecans from Georgia; some are rolled in a sugar and spice mixture that includes a fair bit of orange zest. The combination is heavenly. (I did not use those pecans in the recipe. I just used the idea of combining orange zest with the pecans.) You should add as many pecan pieces as you possibly can without making the filling overflow (i.e., more than a cup, if your shell will hold them). The filling will expand a bit while it cooks, so keep that in mind, however. The butter, egg and syrups mixture's only purpose is to serve as a glue for the pecans. Also, placing the pecan halves on top makes a big difference in getting the maximum surface area of toasted pecan flavor which, to my mind, defines this pie. Enjoy!! ;o) —AntoniaJames
1 nine or ten-inch pie
9-10" pie crust (whatever recipe you prefer)
butter (1/2 stick, or two ounces)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Lyle's "Golden" or Steen's cane syrup (or light corn syrup)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Grated zest of one orange (2-3 tablespoons)(optional)
1 1/2 cups
pecan pieces (toasted or raw)
raw pecan halves (or more, if you like, and they fit)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly toast the pecan pieces (not the halves) on the top shelf of your oven. It should take no more than about 3 or 4 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is when you put them in.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and stir well. Stir in the syrup, salt, nutmeg, and zest, if using.
Fold in the toasted pecan pieces. Pour into unbaked pie shell. There is no need to pre-cook the shell.
Cook at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Turn down the heat to 350 degrees, remove the pie and place the pecan halves on the top, in a pattern if you like. I usually run them in concentric circles, with the pecan halves placed lengthwise perpendicularly to the circumference.
Put an aluminum foil or other frame over the crust and return the pie to the oven for another 35-40 minutes. Check the pie after about 20 minutes. If the pecan halves seem to be browning too quickly, very loosely place a small piece of aluminum foil over them.
Let the pie sit for at least ten or fifteen minutes before cutting.
We usually serve this with a small scoop of French vanilla ice cream on each slice. It's also excellent for breakfast, with creme fraiche. But you knew that already, right?
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)