This moth really was very tiring - at least for me. The second quarter in school finishes next week and I had to go through a lot of tests during the last few weeks. Fortunately it's over and now I can focuse on other - for me- more important things like - wait for it (yes, I love HIMYM) - food, sweets, eating and so on :) As you could have noticed I like American sweets and most of all American pies (oh yeah, the movies, too :D). Apple pie is my all-time favourite and pecan pie is the next one.
Pecan pie is another very traditional and well-known American pie. It's typical mostly for Southern U.S. cuisine and usually it's made on Thanksgiving. Some say it was invented a long time ago with the arrival of French soon after their settling in New Orleans. Nevertheless, there aren't any records or proofs to confirm this theory and to be honest the pie doesn't seem to me to be French :)Food historians agree pecan pie comes from the twentieth century and the French thing is supossed to add an aura of French cuisine to domestic pie. As you can read on Wikipedia the makers of Karo syrup popularized this pie and their own website contends that the dish was a 1930s "discovery" of a "new use for corn syrup". The oldest recipes are dated to 1925.
Every pie has a shell. I personally prefer shortcrust for this one as the filling is sweet enough and the shortcrust doesn't contain any sugar it complements each other well. I recommend blind baking the shell (the recipe includes know-how for this).
It wouldn't be pecan pie without pecans. Pecans are nuts, they contain proteins and "healthy" fats. They resemble walnuts but pecans aren't as bitter as walnuts. The taste is very pleasant, little bit on the sweet side and the texture is quite soft yet crunchy. The fresher pecans you have the better for your pie. I don't think you can substitute them, especially not in pecan pie because then it wouldn't be pecan pie, right?
Another important aspect for the perfect pecan pie is vanilla. For the best filling it's very important to use either high quality pure vanilla essence or real vanilla seeds. The filling consists mostly of sugar and syrup and without vanilla it's just sweet and, well, sweet. The real vanilla adds depth, great aroma and taste to the pie.
All over the internet, books and so on you can find many different recipes for pecan pie. Here I'd like to share with you the basic one and as soon as you manage this one you can try adding other stuff and experiment :)
210g plain flour
53g unsalted butter, cut into tiny lumps
52g lard, cut into tiny lumps
a big pinch of salt
1 glass of refrigerated water
55g melted butter
220g brown sugar
250g light corn syrup
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp pure vanilla essence)
250g chopped pecans
Pastry: RECIPE HERE.
Assembling: Roll out the pastry to the size of your pie form. Remove any excess pastry and bake in preheated oven to 180C for about 6 minutes. This is called blind baking and it will prevent the pastry from becoming soggy. Remove from oven and let cool. Now pour the filling into the blind baked pie crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle the surface of the pie with chopped pecans (evenly). Bake in preheated oven to 175C for about 20 minutes. Then cover the pie with aluminium foil to prevent the surface becoming too dark (or even burnt) and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Try to gently shake the pie and if it's shaking only in the middle it is propably done, but the best way how to find out is to insert a toothpick in the center of the pie and when it comes out either clean or with only a few crumbs clinging to it, your pie is done. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Serve either with ice cream or whipped cream.
Filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, salt, light corn syrup and vanilla seed from vanilla pod and mix well using your wooden spoon. Lightly beat one egg and add it to the sweet mixture. Stir until the mixture looks as it did before you added the egg. Repeate with all the other eggs.
- Americans are used to eating almost any kind of pie with either ice cream, whipped cream or some sweet sauce. This pie is (according to me) best with unsweetened whipped cream, because the pie is sweet quite a lot and the cream makes it less sweet, more creamy and simply heavenly :)
- I highly recommend roasting the pecans before you add them to the pie. To roast them, place pecans on a large pan over medium heat. Stir occasionaly. They become warm and after a while you should be able to smell them and the texture should be crunchier. That it. They're roasted. Immediately remove from the pan because the border between roasted and burnt is very thin. Let cool in cold bowl.
Nom nom nom :D This pie is really exquisite. I know somebody doesn't like it because it's too sweet for him/her, but this one doesn't seem to be. I consider milk chocolate too sweet and this pie was OK and with the whipped cream it's perfect. Pure bliss. The seventh heaven. The filling is smooth, melt-in-your-mouth and the nuts are crunchy so it's a wonderful experience when these two elements are combined in your mouth. I should not eat it at all as I have nut allergy, but guess what - I ate like 3 pieces in one sitting :D (and my eyes were red and itchy, but it was worth it).