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Monday, April 25, 2016

PECAN PIE


For my brother's birthday this past weekend, he requested pecan pie. After work Saturday night, I spend some time in the kitchen. The recipe I found was simple, except I couldn't get the dough to turn out right. I ended up using my old standby recipe with butter instead of shortening, which turned out perfectly. After struggling twice and wasting too many ingredients, it turned out perfectly. I'll never experiment with pie dough recipes again. When something works and is easy, why change?

For the dough, you will need:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled salted butter (or shortening, chilled in the fridge), chopped into small pieces
1 egg
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar

In a food processor (I use this one), mix flour and salt. Add chopped butter slowly, while pulsing. Mix just until combined, it should look like little pebbles. Add egg, cold water, and vinegar, until the dough just comes together. Bring together in ball, cut in half. (This is enough for a top and bottom dough on a pie. I froze the second half to pull out and use at another time.) Chill in refrigerator until after you make filling.

*Note: I always use butter in my dough. If you use shortening, be sure to chill it before hand. I have found that if you use it straight out of the pantry, the dough is too wet and won't roll out correctly. Also, depending on where you are, you may need more or less water. I usually start with two tablespoons and add another (or two) if needed.

For the filling, you will need:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup (light or dark, personal preference)
1/3 cup melted salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste)
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 cups (heaping) chopped pecans (I used a whole bag that said two cups on it)

In a bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and eggs with a whisk until combined.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to fit your pie dish (I used this one). Pour half the pecans over the unbaked pie dough. Add the filling. Top with the rest of the pecans. Cover the top and crust lightly with foil. (I did two layers of pecans, on on the top and bottom of the filling, but you can only do one of the bottom or the top if you choose. I would only use one cup of pecans if you choose this option.)

Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and then continue baking for another 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans. The pie should not be overly jiggly when you remove it from the oven (though it will jiggle a bit). If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional twenty minutes or until set. Required baking time varies widely with this recipe. For me, I ended up cooking covered with foil for 30 minutes, and then uncovering and cooking for 40, checking it every twenty minutes. 

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

Recipe adapted from here.

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