Get all our best tips and tricks on how to make pecan pie, along with our favorite pecan pie recipe!
Pecan pie is a favorite, especially during the holidays. But it can be intimidating to make your first time around.
Luckily we have lots of tips and tricks to share with you so your efforts at making this delicious and surprisingly easy favorite will be successful.
The History of Pecan Pie
Pecans are native to parts of the southern United States and Mexico near the Mississippi River. Pecans were originally cultivated by Native American tribes in those areas, and eventually spread across the Eastern US due to early American colonists.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the invention of pecan pie. Some say it was created by French settlers in New Orleans, but there’s no actual evidence of that.
The first printed recipe for pecan pie came from a Texas woman who submitted it to a St. Louis cookbook in the late 1800s.
Karo corn syrup first published their pecan pie recipe on their product labels in the 1920s or 30s, and most pecan pie recipes since have included corn syrup in their list of ingredients.
Pecan pie is so popular in the south that in 2013, Texas adopted a resolution naming pecan pie the official state dessert.
What Are the Ingredients for Pecan Pie?
Pecan pie has a rich, luxurious, and surprisingly small list of ingredients!
- Crust - A regular pastry crust is usually used for pecan pies. If you don’t feel confident making your own, you can always buy a frozen or refrigerated pre-made crust from the grocery store. Some people also like to use a graham cracker or gingerbread crust.
- Sugar - Sugar makes the pecan pie filling sweet, sticky, and caramel-y.
- Brown sugar - With some pecan pie recipes, brown sugar is sometimes used in place of or in addition to granulated sugar. It gives the filling a nice golden color and a hint of molasses flavor.
- Corn syrup - Most modern pecan pie recipes call for corn syrup to give the filling extra stickiness. Some recipes use dark corn syrup molasses, maple syrup, or a simple sugar syrup instead.
- Butter - The addition of butter makes the filling smooth and gives it a rich flavor.
- Vanilla - As with many pies, vanilla gives the filling a smooth, sweet flavor.
- Eggs - Using eggs helps to thicken and bind the filling together so that it doesn’t run all over the place.
- Pecans - And last but not least, pecans give the pie its signature nutty crunch and its name. Most recipes call for pecan halves, sometimes arranged decoratively on the surface of the pie. Occasionally you can find a recipe that calls for chopped pecans, which aren’t as pretty to look at but make cutting and eating the pie a cinch.
How to Make Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is so easy to make! You don’t have to pre-bake the crust, which for me, is one of the biggest pie-making stumbling blocks. And the rest is basically a dump-and-go situation.
- Simply place the crust in the baking dish, trim off the extra crust, and crimp the edges decoratively.
- Place the pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. You can scatter them randomly or do a fancy pattern–your choice!
- Combine the remaining ingredients and pour the mixture carefully over the pecans. That’s all the prep!
- Pecan pie bakes covered and then uncovered because the filling needs to get hot enough to set up while simultaneously not letting the pecans burn. So first you bake it with foil on top, then take the foil off to finish baking.
Voila! That is the entirety of the process. Now that you know how easy pecan pie is to make, there is nothing stopping you from making a perfect pecan pie for the holidays this year.
Pecan Pie Variations
Standard pecan pie is delicious, but if you’re feeling extra creative, try one of these yummy variations:
- Add some semisweet chocolate chips to the bottom of the pie crust before placing the pecans and pouring in the filling for an ultra-rich chocolate pecan pie.
- Use maple syrup in place of some or all of the corn syrup for a maple pecan pie.
- Add a splash of bourbon to your filling for an extra sweet, caramel kick. The alcohol will bake off, but the smooth vanilla flavor will remain.
How to Make Pecan Pie Filling Thick
Be sure to add all of the required ingredients, use large eggs, and cook the pie fully. Then let it cool completely before serving. A hot pecan pie is a runny pecan pie.
How to Tell When Pecan Pie Is Done
When the pie is ready to come out of the oven, the center should not be super jiggly. If you give it a little shake, the filling should move as one mass. Think about shaking a pan of water vs shaking a pan of jello. You want the jello jiggle.
Wondering what to do if the top of your pie is done but the center is not? If the top of your pie is getting too brown but you still need to cook it to set the filling, gently lay a piece of aluminum foil back over the top and keep cooking the pie at 5 minute intervals until it’s done.
Can You Freeze Pecan Pie?
Yes, you can freeze pecan pie! It actually freezes really well and keeps it’s texture after it thaws. Wrap it tightly in several layers of plastic wrap to make sure it doesn’t get any frostbite or freezer flavors.
Does Pecan Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
Because pecan pie has lots of eggs in the filling, yes it should be refrigerated. However, be sure to take it out of the fridge well before serving to take the chill off. And then cover the leftovers and put them back in the fridge.
The Best Pecan Pie Recipe
Do you need an amazing pecan pie recipe to get you started? Our favorite pecan pie recipe is from one of our favorite recipe creators, Ina Garten. Ina Garten’s pecan pie is perfection.
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