I have several pecan pie recipes, but when someone specifically requests a smooth pecan pie (in reference to the filling, of course), this is the one I use. Originally from Cook’s Illustrated, this pie has a smooth textured filling with a very robust flavor thanks to lots of butter, brown sugar and vanilla.
Like most pecan pie recipes it’s pretty simple, but it does require an extra step. Instead of just mixing the ingredients in a bowl, you mix them in a bowl set over hot water or in the top of a double boiler until the mixture hits 130 degrees. The baking method is also unique in that you bake the pie at 275 for an hour or so. And because the baking temperature is so low, you start with a baked crust instead of just dough. Trust me. It needs to be baked because 275 is not enough to bake the pie dough even for an hour. If you don’t know how to bake a pie crust or what the difference is between docking and using pie weights, here’s a handy tutorial from “the Kitchn“.
What I love about this pie is that it’s almost impossible to overbake it, hence the smooth texture. It is possible to underbake it, though. Pecan pie is done when the internal temperature is 200 degrees F., so if you have a meat thermometer you can use visual clues (no more jiggling) and a quick poke in the center.
- 1 9 inch baked pie crust
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole pecans (8 ounces), toasted
- Preheat the oven to 275 F.
- Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water.
- Remove top of double boiler (or bowl) from over the water and stir in sugar and salt. Add eggs and stir until blended, then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla.
- Return top of double boiler (or bowl) to its spot above the simmering water and stir until mixture reaches 130ºF degrees.
- Remove from heat and stir in the toasted pecans.
- Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake at 275 for 60 minutes (mine usually takes 65 or 70) , until center appears set and a thermometer inserted in the center registers 200 degrees F.
- Let cool on a pie rack to room temperature. If you have time, chill the pie overnight to help set it, then return to room temperature before serving.