Baking & Dessert

By Lindsay Hunt | November 24, 2010

Photo: ImoplexG

For this week’s Baking Around the World installment, I didn’t have to travel far.  I’m focusing on America.  What better week than Thanksgiving week is there to feature pie, the most American dessert of all?  As a tribute to the big feast tomorrow I made two different pecan pies and had friends over to taste test.

My first pie was the Karo syrup classic recipe, with a little brown sugar added for flavor.  I tweaked it for a second version with brown butter, brown sugar, and the British sweetener Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

I invited my friends over to taste test the two versions.  Everyone was very nice, (probably because they had two slices of high-sugar pie in front of them,) but the winner was the Karo one!

In theory, the brown butter should have elevated this pie from classic to celestial, but in reality the pie had a whiff of fake maple syrup and tasted savory and saccharine at the same time.  This might have been from the combination of brown sugar and golden syrup.  I guess that’s what I get for putting an English ingredient into my Thanksgiving pie!

Enjoy the holiday, and may your pecan pies be delicious.

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible

Basic Flaky Pie Crust
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold (113 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups pastry flouror all-purpose flour (184 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder(if not using, double the salt)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tbsp ice water(37 to 52 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar(7 grams)
Pie Filling
  • 1 recipe Flaky Pie Crust (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans

Directions

Make the dough:

1. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap.

2. Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third. Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes.

3.Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in a medium size bowl.

4. Using a pastry cutter or your thumb and forefingers, blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. (The movement is almost as though you are snapping the butter into the flour.)

5. Add the rest of the butter from the freezer, and rub in with your fingers.

6. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar over the flour and butter mixture, and bring together with a fork. Knead with your hands into a ball, taking care not to work the dough too much.

7. Transfer the dough to the plastic wrap, and flatten into a disc about six-inches wide. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight before using.

Make the pie:

1. Roll the pie dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and trim the edges, creating decorative border of your choice.

2. Chill the unbaked pie crust covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (I recommend placing the pie crust in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you fill and bake the pie)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Combine corn syrup, eggs, sugars, melted butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in Pecans.

5. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 6o to 70 minutes. The center should spring back when tapped lightly, or until the center of the pie has reached 200 degrees F.

6. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

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