Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pecan Pie in the Sky


Pecan pie is a fairly sweet pie and rightly so. But I don't like pecan pie when it's overly sweet. I know that "overly sweet" is subjective, but I wanted to craft this recipe to my family's tastes. Instead of using one cup (8 fluid ounces) of corn syrup (which is the amount that most recipes for a 9-inch pie seem to require), I cut back on the corn syrup and I even replaced some volume with maple syrup. When combined with the corn syrup, the maple syrup adds a very subtle yet different dimension of sweetness to the pie. Whole pecans are really stunning and pretty in a pecan pie, but I like using chopped pecans since I have difficulty cutting nice pie wedges when I use whole pecans. I have to say that making the filling is as easy as pie. I know, bad pun, but it had to be said.


Maple Pecan Pie
(makes one 9-inch pie)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
One 9-inch pie shell, pre-baked as directed below*

*Flaky Pie Dough
(makes enough dough for two 9-inch pies)

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice water
1/2 tsp vinegar

Cut the butter into tiny cubes and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Sift flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer. Place bowl of dry ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove butter and mixer bowl with dry ingredients from the freezer. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix on low for 2-3 minutes until the butter is the size of peas. Combine ice water and vinegar and add to dough. Mix until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds.

Gather dough and divide into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour (and up to 3 days).

Take out one disk of chilled dough. Save the other disk for another use. Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and 2-3 inches larger than the pie pan. Transfer dough carefully to a 9-inch pan. Let the pie shell rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes (and up to 1 day) before baking.

Preheat oven to 375F. Blind bake the pie shell by lining with parchment or buttered foil. Fill the parchment/foil lined shell with pie weights.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375F. Remove parchment and pie weights. Continue baking for 10 minutes more until light golden. Set pie shell aside on a baking sheet while you make the filling. Decrease oven temperature to 350F.

To make pie filling

Whisk brown sugar and eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in corn syrup and maple syrup. Mix in melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix in chopped pecans. Pour filling into pie shell.

Bake at 350F until the sides of the filling are slightly puffed but the center is still a bit "sunken", about 35 to 45 minutes.

Allow pie to cool on a wire rack. Serve pie slightly warm or at room temperature.


Judy said...

I really didn't think one could improve on pecan pie, but adding maple syrup? It has been done!

And what is this 'too sweet' you talk of, I am unfamiliar with what that would taste like :)

Dana said...

Yum, yum, YUM! I looooove pecan pie, and adding maple syrup sounds like a delicious twist!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh Mary pecan is my very favorite pie, and maybe not so over the top sweet . . . could I just have a slice on a plate the sky is to high for me to reach even with a BBQ fork.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

yes, pecan pie can definitely be overly sweet - sounds like you conquered that problem though!! love the use of maple syrup!! such a gorgeous slice of pie!!

Manggy said...

I haven't yet tasted pecan pie (pecans are relatively uncommon here in the Philippines). But I think I may seek out those pesky nuts now :) I love the idea of using maple syrup :)

Anonymous said...

That pie crust does look insanely flaky! Might try it for my next pie/tart!

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

Helene said...

I started making mine with half honey and half maple syrup and we all seem to like it better. Your pie crust looks delicious and really flaky. Wonderful for a rainy day!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG that pie looks gorgeous! Yummy! I love that delicious speciality!



Peabody said...

I liked chopped pecans over whole ones too, so much easier to eat. Great looking pie.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mary, this look so good. I love it that you used maple syrup.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your pie crust looks lovely and the pecan pie made with maple syrup sounds divine.

Elle said...

What a great idea to add maple syrup and take out some of the corn syrup. I also love the instructions for the pastry made in the mixer. We might just have Maple Pecan Pie for Christmas.

Cheryl said...

I love that you figured out a way to make it not too sweet. That was always one of the reasons I was thrown off of liking pecan pie.

Brilynn said...

Maple syrup could improve anything, looks fantastic!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Oh god Mary - this looks incredible. Maple pecan pie too good! Where did I out that spoon???

Anonymous said...

This pie looks fantastic! I also wanted to let you know that I used one of your recipes as a base for the cupcakes I baked for my wedding back in August. I wrote about it on my blog today, if you're interested. They were delicious, so thank you, thank you!

Chris said...

Yum! I made a pecan pie with syrup years ago and have since lost the recipe. I am so excited for this post now! :) Thanks!

Sylvia said...

I dont like over sweet pecan pies too. Your pie sounds delicious for me.

Katy said...

looks so delicious! the topping looks just perfect.

Ilix said...

mmmmmmm sounds yummy! I love Maple!

Deborah said...

I love pecan pie, but it is usually too sweet for me to have a whole piece. I love that you've found a way to make it less sweet!

kate said...

I love pecan pie made with maple syrup or better just plain sugar pie (tarte au sucre) for a change. This sounds like a good recipe!

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight, VERY good. It is sweet, but not overly so, as promised. A perfectly satisfying pie that celebrates the pecan.

Anonymous said...

I just followed this recipe and had a piece.It is really good-would've been a little better if I had not burnt the bottom of the crust a little. I bake in a toaster oven and for my pie 35 minutes in a 350 "oven" was too hot.

Rosalee said...

I believe you are entirely correct.
Often time the filling is overwhelming, but this looks yummy.
I wonder if I could use an agave/maple syrup instead of straight maple??
Thanks for any replies.

Alpineberry Mary said...

Rosalee - I think you can use up to one-third agave (and therefore 2/3 maple syrup) without problems.