For those of you who don’t want the BETTER option of my Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe, here is a purist’s recipe for Pecan Pie, perfected:
Feel free to make your family butter pastry recipe, but this is how I do it:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached flour)
1 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
Stir them together in a bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine:
1/3 cup canola or light-flavored olive oil
3 generous Tablespoons milk (let the milk just overflow the Tablespoon as you measure)
Whisk together the milk and oil, then add it to the flour. Gently scrape the flour into the wet ingredients, stirring gently until they are combined. If you still have dry flour in the bowl, add a splash more milk. Gather the crumbs together and press into a ball. Roll the crust out between two sheets of wax paper or parchment until it is about 1″ wider on all sides than your deep dish pie plate. Remove the top layer of wax paper, and use the bottom layer to lift the crust and place it into the pie plate. Gently remove the final layer of wax paper. Tuck the edges of the crust to form a rim around the pie. Then flute with your fingers.
Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Crust must be warm when filling is added, so begin your filling as soon as the crust goes into the oven. Lower oven to 275F when the crust comes out.
In a skillet of simmering water, place a metal or glass bowl. (This is sort of like a double boiler or bain marie, but with a little more direct heat.) Melt:
6 T unsalted butter
Remove bowl from heat, stir in:
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Stir until absorbed by butter. Whisk in:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup*** See below.
1 T vanilla
***For a corn syrup free recipe, substitute the following for the corn syrup, but make it BEFORE you begin the crust because it takes a bit longer:
1 cup bourbon, whiskey, Scotch
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. It will boil over unless you keep stirring and/or blowing on the surface. The bubbles will change from looking fizzy and small to looking glassy, sticky, and large. It will have reduced to around 3/4 cup. Pour back into the liquid measuring cup. If you have much more than 3/4 cup, reduce further. Let it cool until warm and substitute for the light corn syrup.
Return the bowl to the skillet of water and stir until mixture is smooth and shiny and reaches 130F. Remove from skillet and add:
3 cups pecans, chopped (you can reserve some whole pecans from the 3 cups to add on top)
Pour mixture into still-warm crust.
Bake 50-60 minutes on the center rack of a 275F oven. It may still be a bit wobbly when you remove the pie from the oven. Let it cool for at least 2 hours before eating.
The following video is for my Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe, but as it’s very similar to this recipe, you can check it out for tips, especially on how to make the bourbon reduction.