When the family hosting Thanksgiving this year asked me to bring a pecan pie, I was super tempted to run to the supermarket and buy one of the beautiful premade ones sitting in the front entryway. Guilt got the best of me, however, and in the spirit of the holidays, I decided to test my baking skills. The traditional pecan pie recipe calls for corn syrup, but without any on-hand I opted for maple syrup instead. To mix things up even more, I added balsamic vinegar for a subtle fruity flavor. For a first-time pie-maker, the result was pretty good!
Try this for your upcoming holiday parties, it will be a hit!
1 frozen pre-made pie crust- 9” - 1 or 3/4 cups pure maple syrup - 1/4 cup De Nigris Silver Eagle Balsamic Vinegar (or another one of our high density balsamic or glazes) - 2 eggs, lightly beaten - 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar - 1/8 tsp. salt - 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted - 1 tsp. vanilla extract - 1 or 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- If you choose to make your own pie crust, follow a basic recipe and fill a 9” pan per the instructions. For a frozen crust, take out of the freezer when you start the baking process but don’t let it completely thaw before baking.
- The most important step is reducing the maple syrup mixture or your pie will be too soft. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar to a boil, stirring frequently until it reduces to about 1.5 cups. Be patient! It took me at little more than 20 mins, but timing will vary. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Use a food processor or a knife to coarsely chop pecans and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, reduced maple syrup and balsamic, salt, melted butter and vanilla- mix well. The butter and egg might not fully integrate, leaving white ribbons—this is OK. Finally, stir in the chopped pecans.
- Pour into the partially defrosted pie shell and spread the mixture evenly throughout. If you notice an excess of liquid, use a spoon with holes to scoop out the pecans and place them in the shell. Then if there is extra room, you can integrate the liquid at the end or choose to leave it out for a firmer filling.
- Place the pie on cookie sheet on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for approximately 35 mins, until the pie until the center puffs up and feels slightly firm. For a more golden crust- move the pie to a higher rack for the last 5-10 mins of bake time. Let the pie cool for 45 mins before serving. If making in advance, wrap in cellophane and store at room temperature. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Post and recipe by the lovely Claire Giegerich.