May 30, 2010

How I Sabotaged My Daughter's Diet AKA My Pecan Pie

My Handmade Pecan Pie

DSCN0685Last November to help celebrate my mom’s safe return, I made her favorite pie as a surprise. She was happy and loves my desserts, but my daughter was a little upset because she's trying to lose weight and I keep making all of these irresistible treats. My family loves this pie but she had worked very hard over the past few year and lost 75 pounds. Kept off the weight but has gain about 30 lbs back over the past two years. I kinda sorta sabotaged her hard work. Oops!

This pie is great but it uses a homemade crust which means it’s bit more complicated to make. Yes, I suppose you can buy a pre-made pie crust but I don’t care for them much! Those frozen or refrigerated pie crusts are usually made with lard which is a big no-no for me and they are not as flaky. The frozen crusts don’t have any butter in the crust which means they lack flavor.

I've made better pie crust and am a shamed to use this picture as illustration, but believe it or not my dog chewed the memory card that stored my pecan pie image. I had not downloading the pecan image so it is lost forever. This unfortunate incident was mentioned in a much earlier post last year. I will just have to make another one or maybe a different type of nut pie. Oh well that's life. That’s just what happened to me and that is why you don’t see the pretty, fluted crust I normally make in the picture above. I wish I could have shared step-by-step photos with you but unfortunately my kitchen has no windows so that means no natural light to take decent pictures and of course the few I had are no longer.

I didn't have any problem with making a crust only because I have made plenty of them before. Just remember to add lemon juice butter mixture to the pie crust during baking. This will not only allow it to be more flaky but the crust will have a golden brown color. I found some videos that might new bakers. Sometimes just reading instructions in a book or looking at pictures may still not be helpful enough to beginners. Plus with all the ways to share videos online now why not add videos. This should help if you are unsure about making your own pie dough.

A video on how to roll out pie dough.

A video on how to move pie dough into a pie plate.

A video on how to crimp the edges.

A video on how to bake blind…pre-bake a pie crust.

Finally here is one of my recipes for the pie dough followed by the pecan pie recipe.

Single Crust Pie Dough

Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

- 1 tablespoon sugar

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled

- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

1. Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and continue to process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Using a stiff rubber spatula, stir and press the dough together until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does. Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature (about 10 minutes) before rolling it into a 12-inch circle and fitting it into a pie plate (Pyrex glass preferably). Trim, fold, and crimp the edges and freeze the unbaked pie crust until firm, about 30 minutes, before baking.

4. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the crust to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil.

Pecan Pie


- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 3 large eggs

- 3/4 cup light corn syrup

- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

- 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped coarse

1. After removing the partially baked pie crust from the oven, leave the oven rack at the lower-middle position and reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees. (The crust must still be warm when the filling is added.)

2. For the filling: Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl set in a skillet of water maintained at just below a simmer. Remove the bowl from the skillet and stir in the sugar and salt until the butter is absorbed. Whisk in the eggs, then the corn syrup and vanilla until smooth. Return the bowl to the hot water and stir until the mixture is shiny, hot to the touch, and measures 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.

3. Pour the pecan mixture into the warm, partially baked pie crust. Bake until the filling looks set but yields like Jell-o when gently pressed with the back of a spoon, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

This pie can be stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, for up to 2 days.

I hope you all enjoyed this pecan recipe.