This is the pecan pie that almost never was. I tried so hard to screw this pie up. And it came out perfect anyway.
This pie has tenacity, y’all.
First of all, let me explain what I think was (is still) wrong with me. I’m on steroids. And I’m functioning like a bull in a china shop. I’m clumsy and rough and awkward. I broke the lid off the shampoo bottle because evidently I’m The Hulk now.
I've never taken steroids before but it’s like my brain and body aren't in sync. One of them thinks I’m capable of performing faster (and better and stronger and GARGH! Why do I look sunburned?! Brutus, I need you to crush that ball today... CRRRUSH IT!! It’s normal to want this much ice water, right??).
I’m not paying attention to the little things. I’m hammering through everything like it’s a race and I. MUST. WIN.
The first thing I did was pull out my 10-inch pie plate instead of my 9-inch pie plate. So when I poured the filling in, there wasn't quite enough. So I thought I’d left something out of the recipe. After reading it and double-checking myself 47 times I was confident that I hadn't screwed up the recipe. I finally figured out I used the wrong pie plate after I completely emptied my cupboards of every single glass baking dish I own and went through a process of elimination.
And that made me mad because I’d taken the time to make such a lovely homemade crust and I knew the photos would look wonky (pie too shallow, crust too high, grrrrr).
About halfway through the cooking time I always cut out a ring of tin foil to lay over my crust so it doesn't brown too much before the pie gets done. I popped open the oven, laid the foil over the crust and went about my business.
And then I smelled something burning. Like, on fire, burning. I whip all over the house looking for the source of the smell, run outside to check there and can’t find the fire! I run back through the kitchen and that’s when I see the flames in the oven. I fling open the oven door to discover I’d dropped a pot holder in there and it had caught on fire.
The oven and kitchen are filled with smoke, the fire alarm is going off, the onions are running around screaming and I’m standing there at the sink on the verge of tears running water over the scorched remains of the pot holder in the sink.
And all I can think about is that blasted pie.
I think the universe may have actually bent in response to the sheer force of will that was coming out of me for the pie to make it. I’d almost burnt my house down but all I could think about was wanting the pie to be perfect.
And guess what? She made it. And she turned out pretty after all. Even if she is a little shallow and wonky.
Why I’m on steroids… I have been dealing with shingles for about a month. I had an outbreak (first ever) on my face (super) and, while I've just about beat back the shingles, I now have a lovely gigantic secondary rash (contact dermatitis) to go along with the shingles (did I mention this is all happening on my face??) and I’m taking steroids to treat the rash. The Lord’s teaching me a lesson about vanity, y’all. For reals.
Classic Pecan Pie
adapted from The Country Cook's Southern Pecan Pie
1 regular 9-inch pie pastry (see below or use a frozen/refrigerated pastry)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces pecans, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
In a medium bowl, mix eggs and sugar with a whisk until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add melted butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla and continue whisking until smooth. Stir in chopped pecans.
Pour filling into pie pastry and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until center of pie no longer jiggles. If desired, cover pie crust with aluminum foil (either cut out a circle or place 4-5 strips in a ring) half way through baking time to keep the crust from browning too much.
Feel free to use a frozen or refrigerated pie crust. If you’d like to make one from scratch, here’s my recipe...
Flaky Butter Pie Pastry (Pâte Brisée)
makes one 9-inch pie pastry (regular or deep dish)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4-5 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter.
Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together.
Turn dough out onto a clean surface and shape into a small disk (about 5 inches in diameter). Sprinkle dough with a little flour and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for one hour (up to 24 hours).
When ready to prepare the pie pastry, roll dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/8 of an inch thick) with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Carefully place pastry into a 9-inch pie plate then trim edges to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish (using kitchen shears or a sharp knife). Shape edges as desired either by crimping with your fingers or pressing down with a fork.
Perforate the bottom of the pastry by piercing with a fork 4-5 times (to ventilate and keep the crust from bubbling up on the bottom) then fill and cook as directed by pie recipe.