After culinary school, the hubs and I moved to New Orleans, where there’s a serious love for all things pecan. While living in the Big Easy, I discovered a local ingredient that makes the absolute best pecan pie ever: Steen’s 100 percent pure cane syrup, which is slow-simmered in open kettles to create a syrup you can substitute for dark corn syrup or molasses in your favorite recipes.
At Pint Size Bakery, we sell more pecan pies for the holidays than all of the rest of our pies combined. Finding Steen’s is hit or miss at grocery stores, but international markets often stock it, and it can be ordered online at steensyrup.com. In addition to dessert and pastry recipes, the syrup is excellent in a cure for ham or poultry and it tastes great slathered on French toast. I temper the strong flavor of Steen’s cane syrup by using half light corn syrup in my pecan pie filling, but if you love the flavor, the recipe works the same without light corn syrup. If you can’t find Steen’s, you can use dark corn syrup in place of both. I also use Steen’s cane vinegar in my crust recipe.
I know dessert can be a battle each Thanksgiving: First, who’s in charge of pie, and from there, what are they making? Pumpkin or apple (or both)? What’s the most foolproof recipe for from-scratch pie crust? For many home cooks and novice bakers, pie can be scary – but it’s oh-so-rewarding when made correctly. A couple of things set my pies apart from most others: I always parbake my pie shells, as soggy crust is just the worst. Also, I take the time to partially cook the filling to create the smoothest textured pie after baking. If you plan ahead, these extra steps won’t take long, and I promise they’re well worth it.
Christy Augustin has had a lifelong love affair with all things sweet. After working as a pastry chef in New Orleans and St. Louis, she opened Pint Size Bakery & Coffee in St. Louis’ Lindenwood Park in 2012. She calls herself the baker of all things good and evil. Learn more at pintsizebakery.com.
Serves | 12 to 14 |
Pie Crust (Yields 2 crusts)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold, cubed into walnut-sized pieces, divided
- ½ cup ice cold water
- 1 Tbsp Steen’s 100 percent pure cane vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Filling (Yields 1 9-inch pie)
- ½ cup Steen’s 100 percent pure cane syrup
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp bourbon or whiskey
- 1½ cups pecan halves
| Preparation – Pie Crust | In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add half of butter and begin working into flour mixture by hand until a cornmeal texture forms. Add remaining butter and rub into flour mixture until hazelnut-sized pieces form. Using a fork, gently add water and vinegar to create a rough, shaggy dough. It should still be dry and crumbly but will form together when squeezed. Divide in half. On a lightly floured work surface, smear each half with heel of hand, ball it up and repeat 2 to 3 more times until a cohesive dough forms. Form each half into a round, cover in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. On a lightly floured work surface, roll chilled pie crust dough into a circle ¹⁄₈-inch-to-¼-inch thick and 12-inches round. Lay crust into 9-inch pie pan and, using a fork, form a crimped edge and thoroughly dock bottom. Freeze for 20 minutes.
| Preparation – Filling | In a saucepot over medium heat, warm syrups, sugar and butter until melted and dissolved. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and then pour warm mixture over top of eggs, whisking well to combine as you pour syrup. Add salt, vanilla and booze. Refrigerate until ready to bake pie.
| Assembly | Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove frozen pie crust from freezer and line it with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with pie weights and parbake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 375°F. Add pecan halves to parbaked crust and pour filling into crust. Transfer pie to a sheet tray and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. The center will be a bit jiggly, but overbaked is better than underbaked. Serve.