Thanks to some terrific reader input I made the best pecan pie of my life yesterday. It’s the little tweaks to the recipe that really make the difference. The devastating effects of this pie were on display this morning when Mrs. Pastry’s badly shaken colleague brought the empty plate to her office. I only gave him the finished pie (minus the above piece) last evening. Evidently he set it down in front of his in-laws and something of a frenzy ensued. I don’t have full details because he was speaking rapidly and in Spanish, but it was something to the effect of: there was pie…on the ceiling…on the walls…on the windows…my God…it was horrible!
So…prepare this pie at your own risk. Begin by assembling your ingredients. First, toast the nuts. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spread them out on a sheet pan. About 7 minutes of toasting for pieces like these is perfect. I’d go closer to 9 for whole pecan halves.
While those cool make the filling. Swizzle the eggs in a bowl.
Stir in the corn syrup…
…and the vanilla. Stir with a fork, don’t whisk them, since you don’t want to create a foam which will give you an overly thick crust on the finished pie when the rubble rise to the top.
Next melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.
Add the brown sugar…
…and stir briefly until the sugar melts. Don’t get this mixture really hot, you only want enough heat to warm it to the point that everything melts together.
Turn the burner down to low and add the egg mixture…
…followed by the vinegar.
Stir it all together gently.
Slowly heat the filling it to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring more or less constantly.
Add the toasted nuts. They’ll cool the filling, so give the pan another shot of gentle heat while the crust finishes it pre-bake.
Take the crust out of the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 275. Pour the warm filling into the pre-baked shell.
Apply a pie shield and put the pie in the oven.
Bake it about 50 minutes until it no longer sloshes when you jostle the pie plate, but jiggles. Check it after 35 minutes to see how it’s coming. If the crust is too blonde at that point you can remove the pie shield so it has a chance to color.
Let it cool about 4 hours until it’s completely set. Serve!
Any syrup in there? Nope! When you want to prevent a custard from breaking, low heat does it every time.
You can do a crimped crust too if you like!