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Sunday, March 6, 2011

pecan pie.

I love pecan pie but this is only my first time making it. It all started when I walked past this bakery selling wedges of pecan pie, each slice generously stuffed and studded with those gorgeous nuts, and each slice was quite reasonably priced too. I can't remember how many times I've succumbed to its temptation already, but I've never thought of making my own, even though there were a few flaws I could pick at. The crust was soggy, the pecans tasted a little stale...

So anyway, I finally got down to baking my own pecan pie after having found this recipe from cookiemadness, which is one of her favourite pecan pie recipes. I used dark brown sugar, but on hindsight, I should have used light brown. It's just my personal preference because dark brown has too much molasses flavour.

Another thing I did was to bake it mini. I did a third of a recipe for a 9 inch pie crust, and 1/4 the recipe for the filling. I par-baked the crust first to ensure that it didn't get soggy. After pouring in the filling, the pies looked done after just 15 minutes. They were kind of set and slightly jiggly in the middle. When I finally couldn't resist anymore, but I did let them cool completely, I forked through the pie and brown sugar lava flowed out.

This was what ran through my mind at that time:

Ooh, molten pecan pie!

Molten pecan pie?!

So apparently, my pie was still under baked. I stuck my pies back in the oven for another 15 minutes, hoping that would be enough and thank goodness it was. I realized only much later that the pies were only done when the filling sort of puffs up, something that I didn't notice during the first round of baking. So anyway, tragedy solved.

I used my favourite pie crust recipe from smitten kitchen that is practically unshrinkable, unless you want to count the few millimeters. I used this crust recipe for my fruit tarts as well.

A Great Savory Tart Shell

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms. If this does not happen easily, toss it out onto a counter and knead it together. This dough is rather tough but with a little elbow grease, it does come together nicely. (Dough can also be made in a food processor, or as the original recipe suggests, in a stand mixer, though I have not tested in in the latter.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with a filling of your choice, no parbaking required.

This recipe would yield 6 mini pies.

The Best Pecan Pie Yet
1 9 inch deep dish unbaked pie shell *I par-baked the crust first even though the crust didn't require it
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
4 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cut up
3 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup or Karo “brown sugar” corn syrup (both work equally well)
3/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar *I would prefer light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place pecans in a large skillet or saute pan and turn heat to medium high. Cook pecans for 2 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium, add butter to skillet with pecans, and “stir-fry” butter and pecans until butter melts and and just barely starts to browns – take care not to burn. This should only take about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and salt. Remember just to whisk — don’t beat or add too much air to the mixture. Stir in melted butter/pecan mixture then pour filling into unbaked crust.
To catch any drippings, set a rimmed cookie sheet on the lower rack of the oven. Set the pie on the middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and appears set. The pie should still be slightly jiggly in center. Let cool completely at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator to chill. I make it a day ahead, chill overnight, then bring to room temperature and slice.
This pie also freezes quite well. (This recipe would yield enough filling for 8 mini pies)

1 comment :

  1. There is something so lovely about mini pies...I've been thinking about how I want to make mini chicken pies, with real lard...but I get so lazy! Yours look lovely. :-)