Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pecan pie

A classic pecan pie from my husband's Aunt Jo. She is famous for this pie and always has to make at least 2 for every family gathering!

My husband's Aunt Jo is the family's pie expert. She got her recipes from her mother, who passed away before I met my husband, and I am sad that I never had a chance to meet her in person. She did share some of her dessert recipes with Aunt Jo, who keeps the family pie making tradition going. Every time Aunt Jo visits with family members, she makes pie. Pecan, apple and tart cherry are her classics. All the ingredients are sourced from her land, so this truly is a homemade treat.

Aunt Jo's oldest brother Roger is a pecan pie fiend. In fact, every time Jo bakes pies, she has to bake 2. One for Roger and the other for the other family members to share. Addie has a hard time remembering everyone's names, so we refer to that particular uncle as "Pecan Roger."

When we saw Aunt Jo this summer, Addie asked her if she would be willing to teach her how to make pies. Of course Aunt Jo said yes. I'm selfishly hoping that I can tag along too so I can learn the family secret for making these pies so amazing.

I made this pie for my husband one weekend morning, and when he came home, he had a huge smile on his face. Addie told him that we made him a pecan pie like the kind Pecan Roger would like. I tried a slice and loved it immediately, despite my dislike for nuts in general. Addie enjoyed it too and favored the flaky, buttery crust. And my husband? Let's just say that he happily ate the rest of the pie on his own.

Aunt Jo - I hope I did your pie justice, and I can't wait to have a pie-baking day with you soon. If you let me join you and Addie, that is!

Pecan pie
Crust (makes 2 crusts)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup cold butter or shortening (lard is preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 6-8 Tablespoons water
Filling
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped or whole pecans 
Directions
Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt. Add the eggs, butter and vinegar and pulse. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. It should be pliable, but not sticky. (Alternatively, you can mix everything together in a large bowl and use your hands to work the dough) Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The extra crust can be stored in the freezer; just thaw before using. Once dough is cool, roll it out into a circle that is about 1-2 inches wider than the diameter of your pie plate. Place the dough into the plate and crimp the edges.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Mix in the sugar, corn syrup, cooled butter, salt and vanilla until well blended.

Assemble and bake the pie: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle the pecans over the pie shell. Slowly pour the filling over the pecans. Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the center is almost set.

Yield: One pie; about 8-10 servings

Source: Crust from Aunt Jo; filling from Jo's friend Barb Lauthen

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