Pecan pie is a treat for the taste buds. What could be yummier? This southern version of pecan pie is richly decadent with pecans suspended over dark sweet custard on a salty flaky crust.
Rich in Tradition
Pecans are an important crop in the state of Oklahoma where native pecan trees thrive. In fact, a small town in Oklahoma, Okmulgee, a capitol city for the Creek Indian tribe, hosts a pecan festival every June. This town is famous for having produced the world's largest pecan pie at one of the festivals. The tremendous pie is baked in a tent on the town square by means of a huge oven built by local college students. What fun!
Slices of the succulent dessert are dished up for visitors and tourists and relished in the shade of the trees that surround the Creek Council House Museum. Now you can make this dessert too. Nothing smells as good as pecan pie baking. It is a very rich treat, made even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Key to Success
The main key to success with this pie is choosing the pecans carefully. Pecans, if too long in storage, become rancid. Look for pecans that are fresh. The shelled nuts should be light colored. The darker they are-the older they are. Check packaging dates or buy your pecans directly from an orchard owner who can verify their freshness.
Pecans that are shelled should be refrigerated until used, preferably in heavy freezer bags-double-bagged if possible. Pecan oil absorbs flavors and smells from other foods so protect your pecans by storing carefully.
You will need 1 to 1½ cups of fresh pecan meats (pecan halves) per nine-inch pie. No need to toast the pecans for most recipes, as they float to the top of the custard and are well toasted by the time the pie has baked.
Begin with a single crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
3 o 4 tablespoons chilled water.
Mix the flour and salt together. Cut in the shortening until it is a coarse like cornmeal. Sprinkle the cold water over the flour mixture and stir lightly with a fork to moisten all the flour. Work the dough into a ball and chill it for at least 30 minutes. Roll out on a floured board or countertop to about one eighth inch thickness and large enough to fit your pie plate, overhanging the edges by ½ inch. Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to trim off excess. Turn under the edge all around and crimp the edges by pressing the dough into small scallops all around the pan. Lay the crust in the pan.
Preheat oven 350ºF
Add filling of the following recipe:
Break eggs into a mixing bowl.
Beat them slightly with a fork and add syrup, salt, sugar, and flour.
Pour melted butter and pecan halves in and stir until nuts are coated.
Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust and place the pie into the oven. Don't bother trying to arrange the pecans. They will float to top while cooking and turn themselves with the creased sides up.
Bake for 55 minutes or until the center is set and doesn't jiggle when the pie is moved.
Lots of home bakers are intimidated by the process of how to make pie crust, but with a bit of practice you can--and will--find it's easier than you think.With just a few key tips, you too can make a great pie crust. As long as you are able to master the proper combinations of ingredients, you only need to know how to chill the dough, roll out and shape the crust and bake it to perfection.