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CSA Cookoff: Best-Kept-Secret Pecan Pie


THE CHALLENGE
First things first: The biggest secret is how to pronounce “pecan” properly. Now, of course you’re welcome to say it however you want, just like you’re welcome to open up a can and call it homemade cranberry sauce. But as a native of the state whose official tree is the glorious pecan (that’s Texas, y’all), I have a vested interest that leaves my ears twitching every time I hear “peh-CAN” or, worse, “PEE-can.” Let’s say it together now: puh-CON. “Puh” as in “puh-lease,” “con” as in criminal. Whew. That’s better.

THE SOLUTION
In my family, pumpkin pie is a nice add-on, but pecan pie is the dessert of choice for Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And Hanukkah. And New Year’s. You get the picture. I’ve tried umpteen recipes over the years, from Mom to Martha Stewart, but my very favorite is from the good old Joy of Cooking. That’s one secret. Here’s another: I usually don’t make my own pie crust. (All right. I take back that crack about the canned cranberry sauce.) This year, though, I’m gonna try it, using the video down below from The New York Times as my guide. Wish me luck—or, better yet, post a comment or send me a message with your own pie crust recipe. I’ll be ever thankful!

THE INGREDIENTS
» 1 pie crust, prepared using the method of your choice
» 2 c shelled pecans halves
» 3 large eggs
» 1 c sugar
» 1 c organic corn syrup (here's more on the differences between organic and high-fructose corn syrup; better yet, you can make your own cane syrup or browse the excellent suggestions for substitutions in the comments below)
» 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
» 1 tsp vanilla
» ½ tsp salt

THE DIRECTIONS
Before I do anything else, I melt the butter and set it aside so it has time to come to cool. Otherwise, it can cook the eggs when you add it to your pie filling.

Next, preheat the oven to 375. Now you want to break up your pecans. I usually use my fingers and snap each half into quarters, but you can lightly pulse your pecans in a food processor; just be careful not to overdo it or you’ll end up with pecan sand. Put your chopped pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring once. Meanwhile, place your pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate (if you’re using a ready-made crust, put the flourier/less glossy side down) and flute the edges by forming little arches over your left pointer finger and pinching them closed with your right hand; vice versa for southpaws. When the toasted pecans come out of the oven, stick the pie crust in to warm.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in the toasted nuts. Pour the filling into your warmed crust and bake until the edges are firm and the center seems set but quivery when you nudge the pan, 35 to 45 minutes. If I’ve warmed the crust and am using a ceramic pie plate, 40 minutes is usually perfect.

Here’s another secret: You have to let the pie cool on a rack for at least 1 ½ hours. Any shorter, and it just doesn’t have time to set. Serve warm or at room temp with vanilla ice cream. And one last secret? Homemade pecan pie really is that easy—but you don’t have to tell your family so. The crust, however, may be another story. Wish me luck.

STILL HUNGRY? Browse the CSA Cookoff for more HOMEGROWN recipes.



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Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:37am
  • Rod and Staff Farm I don't know about the GMO part, but Lyle's Golden Syrup is an alternative, you would need to find it in your international foods area....
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:37am
  • Jean Pierre Rousseau i make my own maple products and honey,so my firt choice would be maple.
  • Nutrition Research Center You can really make this pie with honey, maple syrup or a combination of these and molasses. I no longer eat any desserts, but my wife and I went organic 25 years ago and pecan pie was one of our favorites.
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:36am
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:36am
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:36am
  • Haji Warf The term, "organic," governs the PROCESS of growing, not the end product. No testing for GM contamination is required to meet the standard. In other words, the farmer can plant organic seeds and adhere to organic methods, but ultimately still produce a corn genetically polluted by pollen drift from his neighbor who grows GM corn. It's possible. Currently, up to 85% of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered, so the risks are great that even the organically grown corn can become contaminated, yet the product can still be labeled organic.
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:36am
  • Alicia Peckham Just yesterday I bought some organic sorghum for a sorghum pecan pie recipe. Made by boiling the juice of the sweet sorghum cane, it tastes like molasses but lighter.
  • Kristen Gustafson organic corn syrup
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:35am
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:35am
  • Haji Warf "[M]ost commercially available agave is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals." Agave syrup, apparently, is not a GMO alternative!
  • Earline Ahonima All that having been said, I'm going to try Haji's Lundberg's brown rice syrup. (P.S. I love walnut pie.)
  • Melissa Martin maple syrup!!!!!!!!!yummmmmmm
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:34am
Comment by Jennifer on December 12, 2012 at 11:34am

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