15 October 2010

Pecan Pie - Without Corn Syrup




Pecan pie is one of those things people are sooooo opinionated about. I don't mind whether it has more nuts or more filling, whether the texture is just right or a little too stiff or a little too runny. There are only two things I really care about--I don't want shortening (or lard, for that matter) in the crust, and I don't want corn syrup in the filling. I simply cannot ingest those horrible things. So, you see, I'm not opinionated at all!

Making pecan pie, a Southern classic, made me think of the Southern side of the family and some of their funny sayings. If your family has a Southern side, you're sure to have heard some of these: dadgummit, dadburnit, looks like the north end of a southbound donkey, looks like somethin' the cat drug up, higher than a Georgia pine (drunk), just talks to keep her head from rattlin', crookeder than a barrel of snakes, sillier than a pet coon. I'd like to make a whole collection of these Southern sayings, so send me yours! (I have a whole other collection from the English side of the family!)

I developed this pecan pie recipe to suit my husband--you see, he has "texture issues." You might find it too heavy on the nuts and light on the filling, but that's what he likes. And it has significantly less sugar than most. So if you're one of those people who doesn't eat pecan pie because it is too sweet, this one might change your mind.

For those who like to eat with the seasons, pecan pie is the quintessential autumn pie. And it doesn't take a lot of time to make, especially if you make your pastry ahead of time and refrigerate it (for a few days) or freeze it (for a few months). I usually have a few disks of pastry in the freezer. Then I just move one or two to the refrigerator the day before I'll be making a pie.

Pecan Pie

(Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 to 12 servings)

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell in glass pie plate
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 packed cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup real maple syrup (Grade B, preferably)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) chopped pecans

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get pie shell ready and keep it in refrigerator until filling is ready. In 2-quart Pyrex glass measure, melt butter in microwave. Add brown sugar, sugar and salt to warm melted butter; mix well. Add hot water, stirring until sugar is dissolved (mashing out any lumps), and maple syrup. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well, until mixture is very smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell.

2 Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 30 minutes, or until center of pie puffs up and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center should feel set yet soft when pressed lightly.

3 Cool on wire rack at room temperature for at least 4 hours. If you make it a day or two ahead, refrigerate it until 2 hours before serving time; allow it to come to room temperature. Or warm at 275 degrees for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into 8 wedges and serve with a dollop of unsweetened or barely sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pastry (food processor* method)

1 1/3 packed cups (6.66 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 10 minutes
1/3 cup ice water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar

1 With metal blade in place, add flour, salt and baking powder to work bowl of food processor. Turn on for three seconds to combine. Add half the frozen butter and process for 10 seconds or until mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Add remaining butter and pulse for six 1-second pulses, or until the frozen butter is the size of small peas.

2 In cup, combine lemon juice or vinegar and ice water. Pour over all of flour mixture; pulse for six 1-second pulses or just until dough will clump together; do not over-process. (The amount of water you will need depends on your climate and the moisture content of your flour. You may not need to use quite as much water as I do.)

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a 4-inch round disk; double wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to three days. (Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.) Place in 9-inch Pyrex pie plate and keep in refrigerator until filling is ready.

* I have the DLC-10E, which (understandably after all this time) is no longer available. See Cuisinart DLC-2009CHB Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless and other currently available models.

44 comments:

Grant Soosalu said...

Hey Jean, excellent! Pecan pie without the corn syrup. We are going to give this a try. Our personal favorite is Pecan and Macadamia pie, so we'll make one using your no-corn-syrup recipe!

thanks and smiles
Grant

Jean said...

Thanks, Grant! You are from the home of macadamias, so of course you should use them in every way you can. Sounds good!

focusfinder said...

As for lighfing forks, the standard reference work I used on my BBC lighting courses was called Light, Science & Magic by Hunter & Fuqua. Once you have grasped their notion of t"he family of angles", you're well on your way to setting up shots that work every time.

Jean said...

I'll have to look into that, Peter. Believe me, it was almost purely by accident that I got the reflection on the fork to look so good!

Mary said...

I also have "texture issues" with almost all of my food, so I found that really amusing! I love pecan pie ~ might have to try this one sometime. Though, I still haven't mastered making my own pie crust quite yet.

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mary. And, since you have texture issues, be sure to come back next Friday for another post for you texturally challenged people.

Biz said...

Pecan Pie is one of my husbands favorite pies - yet I never think to make it until Thanksgiving!

Looks delicious!

Jean said...

Thank you! Lots of people only make pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I don't know why, 'cause I love them all the time, but especially in fall and winter.

Angie's Recipes said...

Looks irresistible!
Corn syrup is not a regular grocery or baking item we can get here in Germany. I am so glad to read that maple syrup was used make the filling, which must have made the pie extremely delicious. Thanks, Jean, for sharing this recipe.

Sippity Sup said...

This pie looks "better than a swift kick in the pants" as my southern grandmother used to say. GREG

Jean said...

Angie, thank you. And I wish I could say "corn syrup is not a regular item that WE can get HERE"!

Jean said...

Thank you, Greg. Everyone should have at least one Southern grandmother! Thanks for sharing one of her sayings.

SomeGirl said...

Yum! That looks GOOD!

Jean said...

Thanks, Michelle! People in Texas have to like pecan pie, don't they?!

Anonymous said...

Being utterly without taste, I just sort of mainline pecan pie with a hypodermic needle in any available body part. Okay. Kiddin'. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe as well as engaging glimpses into your family life.
--Sully

Jean said...

Sully, thanks! I like that--"engaging glimpses." Sounds so much better than "airing our dirty laundry."

Kim said...

Jean, I LOVE that you are a picky pie maker, so all I have to do is follow your directions. We love pie. And pecan pie is my father's favorite. I suspect he'll be asking for some the next time he pops in. I'll have to try your recipe and test it out on him.

Happy Sunday!

[K]

P.S. The peppers made it into a pot of tortilla soup. Also tossed it into some huevos rancheros this week. Superb. :)

Jean said...

Kim, I like that--I'm a "picky pie maker." I do give a lot of directions, but better to give too much info to an experienced baker than not enough to a beginner, right?

Madison said...

Oh Jean, I love pecan pie and I'm not Southern!:D But this more nutty and less sweet version is like a dream come true. I love pecan pie but have always thought it was too sweet and not enough nuts. I'm gonna keep this recipe in the files! You rock!

Jean said...

Thanks, Madison! I hope you like it. After you've tried it, do let me know. Seems like something that would be a good reward after running a marathon.

Lentil Breakdown said...

Well, I'm from Texas, and all I can think to say is, it's raining cats and dogs and I just stepped in a poodle of corn syrup). I am a great lover of pecan pie and hater of corn syrup (although I make my pecan pies with it). I am thrilled to find your alternative. Thanks!

Jean said...

I'm so glad, Adair! I really hope you like it so you will never need to buy a bottle of the foul stuff (corn syrup) again!

Anna Johnston said...

Hey Jean, great to connect. Love this pecan pie, really knew I had to make it when I saw the 'texture' comment - my guy is almost on the weird side of odd with his issues on texture, so I knew this recipe had to get a workout :)

Jean said...

Thanks, Anna! Hope your "odd" guy likes it as much as my "odd" guy does!

Amanda said...

Beautiful looking pie, Jean and one that we don't see very often here in Australia.
I much prefer pecans to walnuts and put them in loads of dishes - sweet and savoury.

Jean said...

Amanda, thank you. I love walnuts, too, but pecans seem somehow more "special" to me. Maybe because I eat a handful of walnuts or almonds every day for health purposes.

naomi said...

Okay, my opinion on pecan pie, because yeah everyone has one-I'm with you no lard, no shortening in my crust.

Yours kicks a$$! (some Southern California slang for you :D)

Jean said...

Thanks, Naomi--I think!? I know a lot of people are still eating hydrogenated shortening, and I think it's just plain scary!

Jan Fredrik Lockert said...

Hello Jean, and thanks for your Pecan Pie - an unknown recipe for a Norwegian but nonetheless an interesting adventure into uncharted waters. Does it go with the Beef Stew in Red Wine? Regards, Jan Fredrik

Jean said...

Hello, Jan Fredrik! Thanks for stopping by. It might be kind of a heavy dessert to follow the boeuf bourguignon. But do give it a try and let me know the results.

Joie de vivre said...

Oh Jean, this post fills me with joy. My birthday is very close to Thanksgiving and every year, instead of a birthday cake, I want pecan pie. However, I have been wanting to healthy it up a bit but also thinking that was not the point of pecan pie and feeling this dilemma. This recipe solves the problem for me in getting rid of the Karo corn syrup! I am definitely bookmarking this. Is it birthday worthy? :)

Jean said...

It makes me so happy to hear you say that! And, yes, this pie is definitely birthday worthy! You'll have to let me know how you liked it.

basket[case] said...

it look delicious

Jean said...

Thanks, Tiff!

Nongtipa said...

hi there, I was going to use your amazing recipe for thanksgiving, but i also noticed that although you mention maple syrup in your list of ingredients, it isn't mentioned in the directions...do you mix it in with the sugar and brown sugar?

Thanks!

Jean said...

Nongtipa, thank you so much for telling me that! So much for my own proofreading! I'm going to make that change now. Yes, you mix it in with the sugar and brown sugar.

Nongtipa said...

Alright! :) Once again, thank you very much for your corn syrup-free recipe.

Jean said...

Hope it works well for you!

Nongtipa said...

Update: This was the easiest pie I've ever made :)!

No complications, easy to follow directions, and the end result is SUPER delicious! (Not too sweet either!) I am definitely going to have to make this for my mum....she will love it!

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing!

Jean said...

Nongtipa, thank you soooo much! That is the most glowing comment I've yet to receive on my blog! My goal is always to write down the recipes I develop in the clearest possible way so that you will have a good experience, and it really pleases me to hear that you found it easy to follow and had no complications.

Anonymous said...

Hello, sorry but I tried your recipe yesterday, and it was not good. First of all: WAY too sweet. Googling "corn syrup free pecan pie" turns up quite a few recipes with less sugar. The texture of the filling was completely wrong, more than one person who tried it remarked that it was "runny" or too thin. It did taste good; but that much butter and brown sugar always does...

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Hello, Anonymous, sorry the recipe didn't turn out well for you. I must say, though, that if made strictly according to my directions the one thing this pie will NOT be is runny! So I suspect there was some deviation. Or perhaps your oven temperature is off (that happens a lot and can be fixed). It IS very sweet, even though less sweet than most pecan pies, and should be cut into very small servings.

Kimberly Smith said...

Hello! I have made your pie and love it. I made it again to serve tomorrow for Christmas and shared about it here: http://turningithome.blogspot.com/2012/12/pies-for-holidays.html

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Kimberly, I'm so glad you liked my recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know! Isn't pie just the "homiest" dessert?

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