It’s that time of the year again. School is in full swing, hockey is back, and the holidays are right around the corner. I love the busyness of the autumn months. Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is coming up in less than two weeks’ time. Although it’s just my mom and I at our home, I still take the holidays very seriously. Despite school and work being so busy, as a Canadian, it’s simply against my values to miss a hockey game. With the NHL back and the Canucks’ season opener tonight, I decided to take a night off and relax. One of my favourite things to do is cook in between periods. It does get a little messy, but I promise it’s better than listening to Don Cherry yap on and on about God knows what. Tonight I decided to do a trial run of the pecan pie recipe I’m using for Thanksgiving dinner.
Nothing beats a good pecan pie. For this recipe, you need all the common baking ingredients. Other than the corn syrup, I already had all of these ingredients readily available in the pantry. I had to go out for the pie crust mix as well. You can make your own crust from scratch (you should if you can) but I have yet to unlock that mastery. The list is pretty short: pie crust mix, eggs, light corn syrup, brown sugar, pecan halves, salt, orange zest (I used a grater. It’s a bitch to clean though!), pure vanilla extract and butter. Sound basic enough?
Begin by creating the crust. If you’re using a mix, follow the instructions on the box. Don’t forget to grease your pie pan before placing the crust in! For some fancy ideas, see Martha Stewart’s gorgeous decorative pie crusts here. Let your pie crust sit aside now. Let it chill until it is firm, which should take at least half an hour. Wanna know a secret? I forgot to chill this pie. I just let it sit on the kitchen counter. Still turned out okay though. Oops. Hey, at least it got to watch the Sharks completely dominate us in the last period?
I skipped photographing a bunch of steps in between from the last photograph to this because it’s difficult to take photos while baking! Once you’re finished with the crust, take out a small saucepan and melt the butter in it over medium heat. Oh before that, you should preheat the oven for 350°F. Once melted, add brown sugar. Whisk the sugar butter mixture until smooth. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in the remaining ingredients: corn syrup, vanilla, zest and salt. Whisk slowly. Be careful not to overdo the mixing, which is what I did in this trial run. This is to avoid white foam from forming at the top of the mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Then add in the mixture from the saucepan, slowly, while whisking. Again, avoid overmixing.
At this point, make sure your cat approves of your work so far. You can tell whether he approves by observing his body language. Here, Amberto is clearly showing his approval by rubbing his face on the handle of the saucepan. He’s saying that he likes pecan pie as much as the next guy… um, we mean cat. And yes, that is a Canucks bib on my cat. He’s a big Henrik fan.
Pour the pecan halves on the pie shell. Don’t worry about whether it’s even. Pouring in the filling mixture will even out the pecans.
Pour in the filling, evenly over the pecans. The pie pan I used is a little larger than conventional pie pans. I think it’s 9″? At this point, it looks like the recipe I used did not produce enough filling. I would recommend using a 8″ pan.
Pop that baby in the oven. Bake it at 350°F for about 50 minutes.
Cool completely before enjoying! Please serve this with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream. Just do it please.
I still have some improvements to make on this recipe before Thanksgiving. I definitely need to be careful of my mixing-happy hand the next time around. I also need to either use a smaller pan or make a little bit more of the mix. It tasted delicious though! Just like store-bought, but with love.
Pie crust mix
3/4 stick butter (a stick is half a cup)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
Prepare pie crust according to directions on box. Chill pie shell for at least half an hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, zest and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Then add filling mixture to eggs, whisking slowly. Fill pie shell with pecans and then pour mixture evenly over pecans. Bake for around 50 minutes. Cool pie completely before serving. Enjoy!
Thanks for cooking with me!