I would love to share a great story about how this pecan pie recipe has been passed down in my family for generations. Truth is, I've only recently even tried pecan pie for the first time, as we are usually very loyal to our pumpkin pies and apple pies in our family. I think the nuts were intimidating to me as a little girl, and I was afraid to give it a try...even though it is an American tradition. My, how I was mistaken. Although it is quite sweet dessert, it's not overwhelmingly so, and I really enjoy the crunch of the roasted pecans. I will most definitely be adding it to our family's table this year, so I guess the tradition starts with me. To quote my favorite movie of all time (When Harry Met Sally), "I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie."
Credit: Thanksgiving-How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton
1 recipe pie dough, well chilled
2 cups pecans, plus more for top of pie
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup (maple syrup, sorghum, or golden syrup are also acceptable)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons bourbon (I omitted this)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
1. For the crust, use a rolling pin to roll the well-chilled disc of dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12-inches in diameter. Fit this crust into a 9-inch pie plate, trimming to leave a ½-inch overhang. (Make sure to use a light hand with the flour you sprinkle on your work surface when you are rolling out the crust. It can toughen the dough. Well-chilled pastry dough does not need much in the way of extra flour to keep it from sticking.) Place this plate, with the dough, in the freezer and chill for roughly 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans out on a rimmed baking sheet ad bake in oven, shaking the pan often, until the nuts are fragrant, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven ad allow to cool. Roughly chop about half the nuts.
3. Make the filling. In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup, and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and continue to boil for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and vanilla, then set aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs into the filling until smooth.
4. Remove the pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom of the shell all over with the tines of a fork. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and pour the filling into it. Decorate top with reserved pecans. Bake pie on the middle rack of oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking after 20 minutes or so to see if the crust is browning too quickly. (If it is, loosely place a crown of aluminum foil around the edges.) Remove from the oven when the filling has set and gone a little puffy--it should jiggle only slightly. Allow to cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream.