Growing up in the Southern United States, pecan pie was something of a staple. Everybody made it during the holidays, and I grew tired of it quickly! Overly sweet, the savory deliciousness of the pecans got lost in a sea of sugar. This recipe is much more balanced, and uses the milder maple syrup in place of the extra-strong corn syrup which is usually used with abandon.
I like to toast my pecans lightly before adding them in, but that is just a personal preference. I also call here to blend them until they are finely ground– I find this adds a lovely texture to the final pie where the custard sets on top and the ground pecans form a delicious layer in the bottom of the crust.
Whichever way you slice it this pie is a winner. The only thing that could make it better is bourbon of course! Do not go top shelf for this, if you do not want to break the bank. Any 80 proof or so alcohol will do– remember most of the ‘fun' parts of alcohol cook off when the pie is baked! So you do not have to risk inappropriate guest drunkenness if you serve this.
For the pie dough, make the ice water and have it chilling for at least 10 minutes. Cut the butter and chill it, in freezer if necessary. Mix all dry with a whisk, add into your food processor fitted with your sharpest blade attachment. Add the cold butter and pulse it into the dry until the butter is nearly all the size of frozen peas.
Trickle in ice water, still pulsing, for a few quick blade rotations and pull off machine. Pour loose dough into a sheet of plastic wrap and sprinkle a few tablespoons of water over the surface if it seems very dry—it should be wet enough to hold together when you press it in your fist but dry enough that it will not clump together naturally on its own. Wrap into a firm disc and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Blind baking the crust is the term bakers and pastry chefs use when they bake a crust without the filling yet in it. This serves to set the crust before the (usually very wet) custard-like filling goes in for a second bake.
Preheat oven to 350F and position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Just before you’re ready to bake, cut your dough disc in half and roll half of it into an even round, no more than a quarter inch thick. Careful tuck dough into your pie tin, crimp the edges in whatever way you wish, and spear the bottom with a fork numerous times.
Place baking beans inside the pie crust and bake in oven till just set; finish by pulling out the beans and baking longer as necessary. Pull from the oven once evenly baked through and let cool.
To make the filling, simply measure everything together and blend very well! Pour into pre-baked 10” pie shell. Lower your oven and bake at 325F for 30-35 minutes. Pull when surface of pie has a very very slight jiggle remaining in the center.
Cool and cut when cold, serve with whipped cream.