My search for the perfect recipes to stuff I like to eat has also extended to the humble pecan pie. I found this recipe in the early 1980s out of a local newspaper’s column that focused on different chefs around Toronto. This came from a trendy Queen Street West establishment (sadly, now closed). What I really like about this recipe is the pastry – it’s no-fail. Yes, that’s right – NO-FAIL. You don’t need your mom’s know-how or your great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe – anyone can do this. As usual, over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there – mostly with regard to the interpretation of the amount of “splash” from the dark rum! And guys, this pie looks and tastes like it’s really hard to make, so if you find yourself making this to take to a potluck dinner, or to impress your friends/date/spouse/significant other, you may get a reputation for being really good in the kitchen, when in fact, we all know differently…
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- ½ cup chilled, unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups corn syrup
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- A “splash” of dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups pecan halves
1) To make the pastry, sift together the flour and sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Lightly beat together the 1 egg and water and stir until dough is evenly moistened. Knead with hands and shape into a ball and wrap in foil or wax paper and put in the fridge for at least an hour but preferably overnight.
2) When ready to make the pie, roll out the pastry to fit a deep dish pie plate (10 or 11 inches). Work it into the pie plate and up the sides with your fingers and cut any excess dough from around the sides. (Guys, you’ll get major points if you make the edges look halfway attractive!) And if you’re feeling frugal, rather than tossing out that excess dough, consider putting it in tart tins and make a few pecan tarts at the same time.
3) To make the filling, combine sugar and syrup in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 or 4 minutes and then immediately remove from heat.
4) Slowly whisk in the beaten eggs. Stir in butter, vanilla, pecans and don’t forget that “splash” of rum!
5) Pour into the unbaked (and beautifully crimped!) pie shell. Resist the temptation to overfill or you’ll be cleaning the bottom of the oven for the next week! (Been there, done that! You might put something underneath to catch any overflow!) Remember, any extra filling can go toward making those tarts.
6) Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 45 minutes. (Keep an eye on it – ovens can vary quite a bit.) Towards the end, if you think the crust is getting too brown, cover with foil.
Let cool 15 minutes before serving and prepare yourself for praise and adoration.