My most favorite pie in the whole world is probably pecan pie. My dad makes the best pecan pie in the world, so it makes it easy to love. When I moved out to go to college I had him email me the recipe, which is my tried and true, pecan-hater-converter recipe. How can someone hate pecan pie, you might ask? I’ll tell you how. Most people make it with corn syrup. Which I think is… pretty disgusting sounding. Even Russell was skeptical the first time I said I was making pecan pie, since all he’d ever had as a child was pecan pie with corn syrup.
The recipe that I have uses brown sugar only, and is fantastic. I started to experiment with butter crust when I was in college as well, and the result is a fantastically buttery, sugary, delicious pie. Everyone of my friends who claimed to dislike pecan pie, but were swayed to at least try a piece since I was known to be a good baker, loved it.
We always arrange our pecans in concentric circles. I tried a few times to do the whole ‘throw ’em all in’ method, but I love the way the circles look when the pie is done and all the pecans float to the top and brown. It’s such a fall-time pie.
1 c. flour
1/2 c. chilled butter, cubed
1/4-1/3 c. cold water
1 cup pecan halves
2.5 c. brown sugar
1/4 cup unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter
To make the crust: Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter until your have coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the water a little at a time with your fingers, careful to not over-mix. When you feel like the crust has enough moisture to stick together, ball up, cover with plastic, and stick in the freezer while you make the filling. Roll out, using your pie pan to measure how big it should be. Place in the pie pan, creating whatever design you want on the edge. I usually just roll our the dough, tuck the extra under and pinch the edges.
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Line the bottom of your crust with pecan halves in concentric circles. In a separate bowl, stir together brown sugar and flour. Mix in salt (unless using salted butter, then I omit it), followed by the milk and vanilla. I break out the whisk here, and whisk in the eggs one at a time. Then whisk in the melted butter, a bit at a time. Pour into the prepared pie pan over the pecans. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until set. Let cool for a few hours before serving.