Southern Pecan Praline Pie

Published October 1, 2005.

Why this recipe works:

When developing our Southern Pecan Praline Pie recipe, we wanted to avoid common pitfalls, creating a pie with true Southern flavor. To maximize the pie’s praline flavor, we added brown sugar to the crust. Parbaking the crust browns the sugar, and thus deepens the flavor. Dark brown sugar and… read more

When developing our Southern Pecan Praline Pie recipe, we wanted to avoid common pitfalls, creating a pie with true Southern flavor. To maximize the pie’s praline flavor, we added brown sugar to the crust. Parbaking the crust browns the sugar, and thus deepens the flavor. Dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup combine to give the filling the deepest flavor. Hefty shots of vanilla and bourbon bring out the complex, earthy flavors of the brown sugar. A generous amount of salt helps cut through the sweetness of the sugar in our Southern Pecan Praline Pie.

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Serves 8 to 10

Chopping the pecans with a knife will produce a fine dust that can cloud the resulting pie. Instead, use a rolling pin to gently break the pecans into small, 1/2-inch pieces. Be sure to remove the pie from the oven when the center is set but still wobbly; residual heat will finish the job.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-stick), cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
  • 3–4 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-stick), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 cups whole pecans, toasted, cooled, and broken into small pieces (see headnote)

Instructions

  1. 1. For the dough: Pulse flour, brown sugar, and salt in food processor until blended. Add butter and pulse until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. (To do this by hand, grate frozen butter into flour using large holes of box grater, then rub flour-coated pieces between your fingers until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Turn mixture into medium bowl.

    2. Using rubber spatula, fold 3 tablespoons water into flour mixture, then press against side of bowl (if mixture doesn’t hold together, add up to 1 more tablespoon water). Squeeze dough together and flatten into disk. Dust with flour, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days before rolling.

    3. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand until dough is malleable enough to roll out but still cool, 10 to 20 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Roll dough over pin and unroll it evenly into 9-inch Pyrex pie plate. Fit dough into pie plate and flute edges. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes.

    4. Line pie shell with two 12-inch pieces aluminum foil, fitting foil so that it hangs over edges of crust. Distribute 2 cups pie weights over foil, then bake until dough under foil dries out, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights, then continue to bake until crust is firmly set and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pie shell from oven and set aside. (Shell can be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic, and stored at room temperature for 1 day.)

    5. For the filling: Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees. Place pie shell in oven if not still warm.

    6. Cook butter, brown sugar, and salt together in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is melted and butter is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, one at a time; whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Return pan to medium heat and stir constantly until mixture is glossy and warm to touch, about 4 minutes. (Do not overheat; remove pan from heat if mixture starts to steam or bubble. Temperature should be about 130 degrees.) Remove pan from heat and stir in pecans.

    7. Pour mixture into warm shell and bake until center feels set yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie completely on rack, at least 4 hours. (Pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.) Serve pie at room temperature (or warm it briefly in oven), topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

How to Form a Single Crust

1. EASE INTO PIE PLATE & PRESS

1. EASE INTO PIE PLATE & PRESS

1. Lift up the edges of the dough and ease it down into the pie plate. Press lightly to adhere the dough to the sides of the pie plate.

2. TRIM AND ROLL OVERHANG

2. TRIM AND ROLL OVERHANG

Use a pair of scissors to trim the dough overhang to within 1/2 inch of the outer lip of the pie plate. Roll the trimmed overhang under so that it is even with the lip of the pie plate.

3. CREATE EDGES

3. CREATE EDGES

Use fingers to create fluted edges.

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