How to Make a Classically Southern Pecan Pie
Since pecans are indigenous to the Southern United States, these nuts have become known as a classically Southern food. The U.S. produces over 265 million pounds of pecans per year, and most of that bounty comes from orchards in Texas and Georgia. Pecan pies, as well as the corn or golden syrups that are used to make them, are very popular in the Southern states, but the dessert itself is enjoyed worldwide.
Because the harvest of pecans occurs in the fall and winter months, you will typically see pecan pies served during the winter season when prices for these nuts are lowest. Serving pecan pie for Christmas or Thanksgiving is a tradition in thousands of homes across the country.
Step 1: Make the Crust
A good pie starts with a good crust, and what better way to start than something homemade? Now, store-bought crusts come in a wide variety, but the secret to a decadent treat like pecan pie is all in the homemade pie crust.
- 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup ice water
- Mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well mixed. This is a good time to break up the lumps in your flour, too, so pay close attention as you stir it up.
- Using a pastry cutter or two forks, work the diced butter cubes into the dry mix. You want the cubes to break down to about the size of a small pea or smaller, but don't worry about getting it much smaller than that. The butter will melt in more as it warms up to room temperature and as you work the pie crust into shape, have no fear.
- Now sprinkle the ice-cold water over the other ingredients, and fold the pie crust dough over and over until you've reached the right consistency. The water will help the dough start to look like moistened clumps. Don't worry if you haven't used up all the ice water, once your dough starts clumping up you can just drink the rest of the ice water—because the next step is a little bit of work!
- Start pushing your clumps of dough together until you've got a ball of dough. Work with it until it's nice and round and compact, then smash the dough down into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
- Once you're ready to use the dough, bring it to your counter or cutting board. Lightly dust flour over the surface, then roll the dough out to size, transferring it into your greased baking dish so it's ready to receive your pie filling!
Step 2: Make the Filling
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease your pie pan, and place pie shell inside, making sure to gently pat it into the pie pan. Butter the top edge of the pie crust so it doesn't dry out too much during baking.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well mixed, then add in pecans and stir more until all pecans are covered.
Step 3: Assemble the Pie and Bake
- Pour pie filling into the prepared pie shell, using a spatula to smooth the top of the filling.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven's heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. The pie will brown and puff up toward the end of the baking cycle.
- Let pie rest on the top of your stove. Wait 10-15 minutes before cutting pie into eight slices.
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