October/November 2009

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

A pecan pie without corn syrup. We certainly don't miss it.

Why This Recipe Works

The overly sweet, artificial-tasting pecan pies of today bear little resemblance to their 19th-century inspiration. Could we recreate a traditional pecan pie without using modern day, processed corn syrup?

We tried a host of traditional syrups (cane, sorghum) to replicate the flavors in a traditional pecan pie. While many produced great pies, we couldn't find them at our local supermarket and had to mail away for them. After exhaustive testing, we discovered that combining maple syrup with brown sugar and molasses replicated the old-fashioned pies almost as well as the mail-ordered syrups, and certainly much better than corn syrup ever could.

To ensure the bottom crust was crisp and golden brown, we started the pie at a high temperature and then dropped it down to finish cooking. Our crust was perfect, but the filling left something to be desired. A last-minute addition of cream yielded a welcome custardy transformation to the filling. This also made the filling looser; a problem easily solved by adding extra egg yolks.

To finish off our Pecan Pie recipe, we found toasting the nuts before they went into the pie gave them enough crunch and flavor to hold their own in the filling.


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Serves 8 to 10


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1 cup maple syrup
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon molasses
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon Salt
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups toasted and chopped pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (see note), chilled in pie plate for 30 minutes

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Serves 8 to 10

Regular or mild molasses tastes best in this pie. Use your favorite pie dough or our Single Crust Pie Dough recipe.

Watch the Cook's Country cast make this recipe

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1. Make Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated.

2. Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until filling is set and center jiggles slightly when pie is gently shaken, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set, about 3 hours and up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Watch The Full Episode

Season 4, Ep. 11

Bridget reveals the secrets to the ultimate Apple Dumplings. Then, Adam reveals his top picks for cake carriers. Next, Chris learns about the best apple varieties for baking at Saratoga Orchards...

Done in 281 ms! 61.385 KiB - 7.5% = 56.776 KiB