This Thanksgiving season, I set out to create a go-to pecan pie recipe that was both free of corn syrup and ‘traditional’ – that is without bourbon, chocolate, or any other third party ingredient attempting to offset the sweetness. Instead, I decided to rely on the subtle aroma of darkly browned butter, a whisper of cinnamon, and soft notes of floral honey to add dimension without compromising the classic flavour of molasses and nuts. Use this as an opportunity to see how far you can brown your butter, and the reward will be unparalleled flavour.
Adapted from: Carole Walter. ‘Southern Pecan Pie.’ Great Pies and Tarts. —Sam Woods
Roll the disc of pastry into a 12 inch circle. Carefully fit the pastry into a 9 inch pie plate, then crimp or decorate the edge as desired. Freeze the shell for at least 30 minutes.
Darkly brown the butter, then let it cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the oven racks so that you can place the pie plate on a rack in the lower middle of the oven, and a baking tray underneath it on the bottom rack.
When the oven has finished preheating, toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes or until they are aromatic and slightly oily.
In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
In a large measuring cup, combine the cooled brown butter, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
Pour the liquid over the sugar mixture and stir until the ingredients are moistened. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, just until they are well combined. Wisk gently – you do not want to incorporate too much air into the mixture or it will puff up during baking. Whisk in the honey.
Remove the prepared pastry from the freezer. Spread the cooled nuts across the bottom of the pie shell. Give the filling a final stir then pour it over the nuts. Fill the pie to a scant 1/4 inch below the top of the crust, to allow room for the filling to expand during baking.
Place a large metal baking sheet on the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Place the pie on the middle rack and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating carefully after 30 minutes. Use a pie shield if necessary to prevent overbrowning in the last 20 minutes. The pie is finished baking when the crust is completely golden brown and the filling has puffed up through to the centre. The filling should still wobble slightly when the tray is jiggled, and it should only begin to crack in the last few minutes of baking – if at all.
Let the pie cool completely before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.