Author Notes: 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
Makes: 1 nine or ten-inch pie
9-10" pie crust (whatever recipe you prefer)
tablespoons 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)
cups pecan pieces (toasted or raw)
cup 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?
- Enjoy!! ;o)