At Thanksgiving, friends and family members fight over getting a piece of Susan’s Perfect Pecan Pie. It’s dubbed perfect for two reasons: (1) It’s perfectly delicious; and (2) it took almost 10 years to perfect. After a lot of arm twisting, Susan relented and agreed to share her Perfect Pecan Pie recipe, and the story behind it, so I’m turning things over to Susan who writes . . .
At the Thanksgiving dinner table, there are always a few folks who don’t get exactly what they want. There aren’t enough drumsticks, the mashed potatoes are too lumpy, Susie didn’t make her Mac & Cheese, there are no lumps in the mashed potatoes, the deep fried turkey is burnt, etc. All of that is trivial compared to the most important question of all – Pecan or Pumpkin – pie that is.
As a self respecting Southern girl, I’ve got to go with Pecan! My recipe isn’t something that I got from the back of a bottle of Karo syrup, or a top secret family recipe handed down through the generations.
It all began with a magnet purchased at the turn of the millennia on a birthday trip to New Orleans while I was living in Los Angeles.
The first time that I tried to make the pecan pie, it was a disaster. The problem was that I used refrigerated pie crusts that came in a roll and put in a glass Pyrex pie pan as opposed to the frozen ones that come in the pan. The crusts split and cracked and made a huge mess. You couldn’t cut the pie into slices, though I had no problem using a fork and eating just the filling. But over the years of tinkering with the original magnet recipe and only having certain types of Karo syrup and brown sugar on hand, I have finally come up with the Perfect Pecan Pie.
My list of ingredients include frozen pie crusts, salted butter, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, light Karo syrup, dark Karo sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, and toasted pecans.
I start out by creaming the butter on medium speed for two minutes.
Then I add the light brown sugar, and beat it on medium speed for two minutes, followed by the dark brown sugar, which I beat for two minutes. Next, I add the Karo syrups and vanilla extract, and beat for two minutes. Then, I add the eggs, one at a time while the mixer is running. For me, it’s easier to crack all of the eggs into a bowl and add the eggs from the bowl. With the additions and beating, I do a fair amount of scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
Unlike traditional recipes that have you adding the pecans to the batter, I sprinkle pecans in the uncooked pie shell, and then add the batter using a soup ladle. One thing about the pecans – it’s critical that you break the pecans into small pieces, and toast them before adding them to the pie shell. In fact, you should always toast pecans before adding them to any recipe!
My recipe for the Perfect Pecan Pie is enough to make two regular sized pies plus 16 mini pies, or two deep dish pies. Because I planned to send some mini pecan pies to a friend, I used a regular size pie shell. For the mini pecan pies, I added 1 tablespoon of pecans to the mini pie shell, and topped it with 2 tablespoons of the batter.
I baked the regular sized pies in a 450° F oven for 10 minutes, and then reduced the heat to 350° F and cooked them for another 35 minutes. I use the jiggle test to see if they’re done. That is, I jiggle the baking sheet that the pies are on to see how much they jiggle. If they jiggle too much, I bake the pies for another 5 minutes or so. I baked the minis at 325° F for 40 minutes. These pies freeze beautifully, and are actually better served cold.
I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and friends do!