Pecan pie, three classic recipes for this hugely popular pie.

Pecan pie
As the pecan nut is native to the southeastern states of the US, as well as other regions throughout the world, and pecan nut trees are in abundance in this area, you would not be wrong in assuming that the pecan pie has its origins here and is a dish that the inhabitants are fiercely proud of.

Some people credit the French who settled in New Orleans with the creation of this exceedingly sweet pie, whilst others claim that a Karo Corn Syrup executive's wife invented the recipe herself in the hope of promoting and boosting sales of the new product at that time.
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The pecan pie, however, has only been around for a relatively short period of time, about 80 years in fact, so it is fascinating to see how the pecan pie has quickly become one of the specialities and best-loved dishes of southern eastern cuisine.

There are very little variations in the recipes for pecan pie and most contain the exact same ingredients: pastry, eggs, sugar, syrup, butter, pecans, vanilla and salt.

Other ingredients that may be added are molasses, brandy, chocolate, maple syrup and cinnamon.

Pecan pie is very easy to make and it stays fresh for longer than a lot of desserts, but be warned, for those who have never tasted pecan pie, it is an exceptionally sweet dish, to be enjoyed by those with a very sweet tooth.

Simple Pecan Pie

Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked 9 inch shortcrust pastry pie shell
  • 1¼ cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.
  3. Stir in the melted butter and then add the syrup. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the pecans and stir.
  5. Line a 9 inch pastry case with the rolled out pastry and fill with the pecan mixture.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes.
  7. Cool before serving and serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

Not so sweet pecan pie

Ingredients
  • 1 chilled unbaked 9 inch shortcrust pastry pie shell
  • 1¼ cups of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 tbsp of molasses
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. Line a 9 inch pastry case with the shortcrust pastry and layer the bottom of the pastry with the pecans.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the mixture evenly over the pecans.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until the mixture has set and is firm. Keep an eye on the pastry and check that it does not brown too much or burn.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Pecan and Maple Syrup Pie

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Ingredients
  • For the rich shortcrust pastry
    • 5½ oz (155 g) of plain flour
    • 4 oz (115 g) of lard or vegetable fat
    • 2 - 3 tbsp of chilled water
    • 1 tsp of cinnamon
    • pinch of salt
  • For the filling
    • 5 fl oz (140 ml) of golden syrup
    • 3 fl oz (85 ml) of maple syrup
    • 4 oz (115 g) of pecan nut halves
    • 3½ oz (100 g) of dark brown sugar
    • 3 large beaten eggs
    • ½ tsp vanilla essence
    • pinch of salt
Method
  1. First of all prepare the pastry. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and cinnamon.
  2. Cut the fat into small pieces and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time and mix the pastry together with a knife or fork until it begins to come together. Finish off by gathering the pastry with your hands.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
  6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and carefully line a greased 9 inch pastry tin with it. Push the pastry to the edges and make sure that there are no gaps between the tin and the pastry.
  7. With a fork prick the bottom of the pastry all over. Bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry has set and is light brown in colour.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/180°C.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients except for the pecans.
  11. Layer the bottom of the baked pastry case with the pecans and then pour the filling mixture over the top.
  12. Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until the mixture has set and the pastry has browned.
  13. Allow to cool and serve.
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