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A Pie to be Thankful For | Manolo for the Big Girl

A Pie to be Thankful For

Reader Caroline writes:

This is my first year making Thanksgiving all by
myself and it’s also my first Thanksgiving with my
boyfriend and his family. I’ve been trying to find a
great pecan pie recipe and you were the first person who
popped in my head when I thought, “who bakes and would
know these things??

Do you have a definitive pecan pie
recipe?

Well, Caroline, definitive is a big word, but I can tell you I do have a really, really good pecan pie recipe that has worked multiple times for me. It’s delicious, a little special, a touch off the beaten track,  and – to coin a term – easy as pie to make. If your boyfriend and his family have any love for pecan pie, I’m betting you’ll get raves for this one.

It comes from the accurately named tome Pie by Ken Haedrich. If you love pie, this is a great book to own. Trust me. I wouldn’t be without it in my cookbook library.

Snowbird Mountain Lodge’s Mocha Pecan Pie

1 9″ single pie crust (if you don’t have a tried and true recipe, consider this one)

3 Tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp instant espresso or coffee granules

3 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted

1 Tblsp heavy or whipping cream

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup light corn syrup

3 large eggs at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 Cups coarsely chopped pecans

Prepare your pie crust according to instructions and place in 9″ pie pan. Place in freezer for 15 minutes, then partially prebake at 400f for 15 minutes (be sure to line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans before baking), then allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350f.

Combine the cocoa, coffee, butter, and cream in a large bowl. Whisk to blend. Add the sugar, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Whisk again to smooth. Stir in the pecans and pour into the cooked pie shell. Gently rake a fork through the filling to distribute the nuts evenly.

Place the pie on the center rack of your oven and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces the front. Continue to bake until the filling has puffed around the edge and the middle is set (I find this usually takes around another 20 to 30 minutes). To check, give the pie a quick little nudge. The filling should not move in waves under the crusty surface.

When finished baking, transfer to a wire rack to cool. May be served at room temperature or cooled in the refrigerator.

For added deliciousness, I like to add a touch of the espresso powder and cocoa to the pie crust as well. Oh, and a dollop of whipped cream (not too heavily sweetened!) is a delectable compliment, too.

Caroline, I hope you find this recipe helpful. It’s one that always gets raves when made at Casa Twistie. I hope it will do the same in your home.

12 Responses to “A Pie to be Thankful For”

  1. Jane October 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    My grandma was from Vermont, and for some reason both her daughters went to college in Alabama. When they came home for Christmas break, they would bring Southern pecans with them, and this pie (made with good Vermont maple syrup) became a family Christmas tradition.

    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 t salt
    1 C maple syrup
    1 T flour
    2 eggs
    1 t vanilla
    1 T melted butter
    1 unbaked pie shell
    1 1/4 C pecan halves

    Beat together sugar, syrup, salt, flour and eggs. Add butter, vanilla
    and pecans. Pour into pie shell. Bake in slow oven, 300 degrees, 1
    hour or until filling is just set.

    Grandma further notes: The pie can be baked a day ahead and the crust
    will not be soggy.

    I will add: You can increase the amount of pecans if using a deep-dish shell.

  2. Plumcake October 25, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    I will take a moment to brag on myself (shock! I know!) but I actually won the blue ribbon at the Wimberley Pie Social –Wimberley is a town that exists solely because of its pies– for my brownie pecan pie, beating the pants off someone who formerly worked for Martha Stewart.

    I don’t share the exact recipe, but if you email me me, I’ll send you something very close.

  3. Sabayon October 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    My extremely southern family’s traditional pecan pie recipe is the one on the back of the Karo corn syrup bottle with the following significant changes: 1) add a quarter to a third of a cup Kentucky bourbon, 2) ignore the quantity of pecans, just fill the pie shell 2/3 of the way full of pecans then pour your batter on over. By the way, replacing the ice water in your pie crust with bourbon is not only delicious, but makes an easier to work with, flakier crust.

  4. Margo October 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Well, Sabayon, I don’t bake, but I recommend replacing your ice water with bourbon at all family gatherings. Makes everyone you’re related to easier to work with.

  5. chachaheels October 27, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    Bourbon in the crust!

    What I’m taking from this lesson is:

    1. Substitute maple syrup for any semblance of corn syrup in the mix
    2. Bourbon in the pastry, bourbon in the filling
    3. Be liberal with the pecans.

    But my one question is:
    Shouldn’t there be a layer of dark chocolate lining that piecrust, at some point?
    (Yes, this question is heavily influenced by the chocolate presence in the brownie pecan medal winner baked by Miss Plumcake)

  6. Twistie October 27, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    chachaheels, I would absolutely hold with painting the interior of the crust in dark chocolate. Just melt your fave good chocolate and apply with a pastry brush.

    Also, I will absolutely be trying maple syrup trick as a substitute for corn syrup the next time I make a pecan pie, Jane. That sounds much yummier to me! Though I might leave my mocha pecan pie recipe alone.

  7. teteatete November 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    I am Caroline from the email! Awww, Twistie. Thanks for mentioning me! I am very excited about Thanksgiving and this recipe looks wonderful–I will definitely be trying it out!

    I am nervous about one thing, though. I’ve always made two-crust pies. I’ve never had to prebake a crust. Are there any secrets? Do the beans combust (heh, ok, I’m not really worried about that:) )?

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  8. Twistie November 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm #

    teteatete, it was my pleasure!

    Sorry I missed this comment for so long, but here I am at last to answer it.

    No, the beans don’t combust. But if you don’t have (or don’t feel like using) dried beans, you can easily get a set of pastry weights from any decent source of cooking supplies. Williams-Sonoma, Cooking.com, Amazon, and dozens of other places carry them. Advantage? They’re reusable and you aren’t wasting food.

    Basically, what you want to do is parbake your crust. About ten or twelve minutes should do it. Bake it at the same temperature you’d bake the pie at, and then let the crust cool before you fill it.

    Let us know how it goes!

  9. teteatete December 1, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Success! The pie was wonderful. I only had one teeeency issue with the par-baking: it sank a wee bit on one side, so the the filling came up too high in one spot. Really though, that was no big deal and it tasted wonderful. Thanks again for the recipe. I’m going to attempt to embed a picture:

    <

    The second pie was apple. :) I need a ring for the crust though. Using foil hats is hard when the hot air in the oven blows them off..

  10. teteatete December 1, 2009 at 12:02 am #

    Woops…trying again:

  11. teteatete December 1, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    I fail so hard at HTML. Click my name instead. :)

  12. Twistie December 1, 2009 at 2:23 am #

    It looks lovely! I’m so delighted for you!