Pecan pie is one of the first things we head for when it comes time to hit the Thanksgiving dessert table. This nut-filled classic is the very definition of ooey-gooey decadence, and always has been. Our version is just as rich and sugary as ever, but with one small change: we ditched the corn syrup.
Of course, pecan pie was around long before corn syrup was even dreamed of. We've seen other versions of corn-syrup-free pecan pies that use maple syrup, honey, or cooked brown sugar. In our great-grandmother's oldest church cookbook, there's a recipe for Praline Pecan Pie that simply mixes brown sugar with eggs to make a basic custard base.
We prefer using an all-purpose cane sugar syrup that we've been playing with lately. This syrup makes a perfectly gooey pie with a deep caramelized flavor and a crunchy nut topping. Honestly, we'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this pie and the corn syrup versions we've made and loved in the past. In our minds, that's a win all around.
It hardly needs to be pointed out, but a slice of pecan pie pairs brilliantly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. We also like a cup of strong black coffee to sip between sugary bites.
Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F with an oven rack placed in the middle of the oven.
Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and freeze for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Microwave the cane sugar syrup in 30 second bursts on HIGH (about 1 - 1.5 minutes total), or set in a saucepan of simmering water, until the syrup is pourable.
Combine the syrup, sugar, eggs, salt, melted butter, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are evenly combined. Stir in the pecans.
Remove the pie crust from the freezer and pour the filling into the shell. Use a spoon to make sure the pecans are distributed evenly. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 50-55 minutes. The pie is done when it reaches an internal temperature of about 200°F, and when the top crust turns deep golden-brown and feels firm when gently tapped.
Allow to cool completely and keep loosely covered with plastic in the refrigerator. Keeps one week.
(Images: Emma Christensen)