Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pecan Pie Goodness

The holidays always put me into a crafty mode and November thru January is the time when I bake, make holiday cards, and want to learn more crafts. This holiday season was nothing different. It's the beginning of January and I'm only starting to come down off the feverish crafting season.

Over the last two days Kate and Oliver have been driving me crazy so I wanted to do something crafty to help me relax and not make me go all Falling Down on everyone. If anyone had been reading my Facebook posts during that time know there was a good possibility of that happening. :D

Every year I always make one or two pecan pies during the holiday because they are Lucky's favorite. Quick background: Before I met Lucky I never made a pie that I couldn't find the recipe on the back of the filling can. It was either one of the Jello cheesecake pies or pumpkin pies and, although they are both good in their own right, they aren't my definition of a "real" pie. A homemade, made from scratch, takes-all-day-to-make pie that sits on the windowsill to cool. Of course people are looking in at me at my kitchen window in my house with the white picket fence and children playing out front. Yeah, that happens a lot so naturally homemade pie-baking happens a lot as well.

When I met Lucky he had mentioned that pecan pie was his favorite but he couldn't find someplace to buy a great-tasting pie. So I thought I would surprise him one day and make him a pie to show him that although pecan is not one of my favorites, I would make it for him. I set out to find a great pecan pie recipe but didn't know where to start. I was making a pecan pie from scratch....from scratch. No one I knew had liked the pie let alone made the pie so I used my trusty standby: I knew that if there was ever a great recipe the people of the AllRecipes community would make it known.

After some searching I finally decided on a pecan pie recipe and made it. Lucky came home and although he thought it was a nice gesture, the pie wasn't that great.


Let's start over.

I found another recipe and tried that one instead. Lucky tried that one instead and he was in love. It's like I dangled a new tattoo machine out in front of his face and said "just because." I don't think we shared the pie with anyone. Lucky finally got me to try some pie and I actually liked it! Now it's one of my favorites - but only my pie, not a store-bought version. That's ok, I'll definitely take the time to make one.

Now, back to my original story. With the kids driving me crazy and my desire to make a pie I was a little upset that we didn't have any corn syrup - which is a main ingredient. (Cindy, don't read this) I decided to make my own corn syrup because I am too lazy to get my butt across the street to the store. (do you UNDERSTAND how hard it is to load up two kids, go across the street, unload two kids, just to buy one item? Yeah, I'll make my own corn syrup, thank you.)

After making the corn syrup I did something else that I have hardly ever done before in my life: make my own pie crust. Although the store-bought ones are incredibly convenient, they're just missing that little oomf that homemade crust has. The flaky, buttery goodness that makes people wish they were back at their mother's house. Guess what? I am the mother now. :)

So, in recap, I made my own corn syrup, homemade pie crust, and pecan pie. What the crap have I become: Suzie Homemaker? Ugh, somebody stop me now.

I'm including the recipes for all three parts of my pie as well as pictures. Enjoy.

Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute
by Roosie on Recipezaar

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 c white sugar
3/4 c water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
3. Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of pan.
4. Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until it reaches the soft ball stage.
Pie Crust IV
by Jan Bittner on
Makes one 9" pie crust
1/2 c vegetable shortening*
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cold water**
1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork, pastry cutter or food processer until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.***
2. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than the pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2" beyond rim. Fold up and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.
*I used half Crisco half butter due to Alton Brown telling me long ago that half and half is the best way to get a great tasting AND flaky crust. I also put the Crisco into the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using to make sure it was nice and cold.
**I listened to the reviewers of this recipe and didn't use the full 1/2 cup of water. I would put in water 1 tsp at a time, mix together and then if it needed more I would add another tsp. I continued this until the crust held together.
***I put the dough into the fridge for an hour before rolling it out to ensure that all the molecules have a chance to do their thing and fuse together properly. (I watched a lot of Alton Brown) After rolling out the crust and putting it into the pie plate, I put the plate back into the fridge until I was done making the pecan filling.

Kentucky Pecan Pie
by Laurie Nannie on
1c white corn syrup
1c packed brown sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1/3c butter, melted
3 large eggs (or 2 extra large)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 9" single curst pie
1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Combine syrup, sugar, salt, and melted butter or margarine. Slightly beat the eggs and add to sugar mixture. Beat well, and pour into uncooked pie shell. Sprinkle pecans on top.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the pie middle doesn't jiggle anymore.

Before pecans.

After pecans


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