Classic and simple with a dash of cinnamon, melted butter, and vanilla. This is my favorite pecan pie recipe for obvious reasons!
First, I have a new post up on my photography blog this week. Come be amazed at the magnificence that are the redwoods in sunny CA. Second, I have a book signing tonight! I was in Baltimore this past Sunday, NYC this past Wednesday, and I’m in Baltimore again today. I’m often asked how I can handle all of this travel? One word: caffeine. But seriously… chatting with all of you, seeing how much you love my blog and recipes… seriously makes every single second worth it. I also go to bed at an embarrassingly early hour every single night. #old
Now, let’s talk pie. Pecan pie. The classic, the forever, the sugary dessert without which no Thanksgiving is complete. As traditional as pumpkin pie, as deliciously chewy as chocolate chunk cookies, as devilishly rich as apple pie.
My friends, let me present you with my late grandmother’s old fashioned pecan pie recipe. Because this recipe should live on forever in her memory.
I’ve been consumed in pecan pie recipe testing for nearly two months. Any day I’m home in the kitchen, I’m working on perfecting this timeless recipe. Pie Determination: it’s a thing. And it’s dangerous. Also, slightly manic.
Take a walk down recipe testing lane with me, won’t you? I tried pecan pie without corn syrup. It was dry and gross. I tried it with more pecans and less eggs. Why did I do that? Then I tried it with more eggs, less pecans. Scrambled egg pie, anyone? Ummmm that test pie is erased from my mind forever.
I tried pecan pie with maple syrup, a little bourbon, and even a pinch of nutmeg. Sort of good, but not the classic dish I craved. Now I have 6 pies in my refrigerator and none of them are my definition of pie perfection. “Kevin, please take these mediocre pies, oh god except for the scrambled egg pie, to the neighbors please.”
For such a simple pie (pecan pie is truly the easiest pie you will EVER make), why was I overcomplicating things? It wasn’t until pie number 7 until I turned to grandma’s classic. Grandma, though no longer with us, still knows what’s best. That woman. My saving grace! Especially when it comes to pie.
Don’t mess with the filling ingredients.
All classic pecan pie favorites inside this pie, like Diamond of California pecans. Mama baking addiction and my grandma never, ever used a brand of nut besides Diamond of California in their baking. And in what crazy amazing world do I get to be Diamond’s brand ambassador? Pinch me.
There’s 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar in this pie. Typically you’ll find pecan pies have anywhere around 2 full cups. I find that much too sweet. I use the dark varieties of both corn syrup and brown sugar, compared to light corn syrup and light brown sugar; I do this merely for intensified flavor. And I suggest you do as well! 3 eggs hold the filling together, while vanilla extract, melted butter, and a small dose of ground cinnamon provide flavor. I don’t see too many pecan pies with cinnamon– so thank you, grandma, for giving me the opportunity to present a slightly unique pecan pie on my Thanksgiving table. And to all my readers!
Not only is this remarkably simple filling inspired by one of my grandmothers’ pecan pie recipes, the homemade pie crust is her own as well. A couple months ago, I wrote a very long post dedicated to this pie crust recipe. Why the ingredients work, the particular method, and all my tips and tricks to perfecting it.
Your Thanksgiving pie crust savior, if you will.
The buttery, flaky pie crust has a wonderfully crumbly texture yet still stays perfectly in tact as the pie bakes and cools. Some pecan pie recipes require you to pre-bake the pie crust before pouring in the filling, but I do not find that necessary. I skip that step by simply baking the pie on a lower oven rack.
The pecans on top get all toasty while the nuts underneath have a melt-in-your-mouth chewy texture. The pecan’s flavor and texture, paired with the flaky homemade pie crust, the filling’s vanilla, butter, and cinnamon… it all just makes this my favorite pecan pie recipe. Classic and simple.
I made about 3 or 4 of these pies the past couple of weeks to freeze for the upcoming holidays, so that’s why you see two different pie dishes in this post.
Let me know if this pie graces your Thanksgiving table!
My Favorite Pecan Pie Recipe
This is my favorite pecan pie recipe for many reasons. A little cinnamon, vanilla, melted butter, toasty pecans, homemade flaky crust... I could go on and on. Classic and simple, traditional and sweet.
- Homemade Pie Crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; you can halve the crust recipe or freeze the 2nd half)
- 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) coarsely chopped Diamond of California pecans (a very rough chop!)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup*
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
- After the pie crust has chilled, adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Remember, when rolling out the chilled pie dough disc, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Roll it out into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth.
- The filling: Spread pecans evenly inside pie crust. Set aside. Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Once completely combined and thick, pour evenly over pecans.
- Bake the pie for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly. You can also tent a piece of aluminum foil over the whole pie if it is browning too quickly. Remove finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. The pie filling will settle as it cools.
- Slice and serve pie warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar if desired. Cover and store leftover pie at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Make ahead tip/Freezing: Pecan pie is a wonderful dessert to make ahead of time. You can get started by combining all the filling ingredients (except the pecans) one day ahead of time. Keep it covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pie. You can also make the pie dough 1-5 days in advance since it needs to chill. If you want to bake the pie 1 full day in advance, bake it as directed, allow it to completely cool, then cover tightly and keep at room temperature until ready to serve the next day. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
*You can use light corn syrup instead. I have no subtitution suggestions yielding the same texture, moisture, and flavor. Corn syrup is a must in traditional pecan pie.
Source: Grandma's filling & pie crust. ♥
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Today! November 6th — Baltimore MD. 6-8:30pm. FREE candy cooking demo, book selling, and signing at Williams Sonoma in the Columbia Mall (10300 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, Maryland 21044)
November 8th — St Louis MO. 12-4pm. Book selling and signing at William’s Sonoma in Plaza Frontenac (1701 S Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131)
November 14th – Chicago IL. 2pm. Candy cooking demo, book selling, and signing at America’s Sweets & Baking Show (yes, a show about all things dessert) at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. This is a ticketed event. Click above for show details.
November 15th – Chicago, IL. 1-4pm FREE candy cooking demo, book selling, and signing at William’s Sonoma (Lincoln Park 1550 N. Fremont St. Chicago, IL 60622)
Later this month: Pittsburgh and Cleveland! Here’s the full book tour schedule. Remember, the first 25 people at each location get a free bag of Diamond of California nuts.
I’m working with Diamond of California to bring you today’s recipe!