I have dreams about this pie. Wicked dreams. If I had to fight someone for this pie, I would. And, if we’re talking last piece – it’s on like Donkey Kong. No joke. This is a serious pie. Ever since I made this for Thanksgiving, I have been looking for reasons to make it again everyday since then.
Oh this pie is the mac daddy of all pies and really just should have a holiday on its own. Albeit usually seen during Thanksgiving, this pecan pie, my friends, needs a special place at your dining table. I have held off making this pie in fear that I could not even compete with the store-bought version to which my entire family has grown accustom. And, using a recipe that lacked corn syrup really made me nervous that people wouldn’t have the nostalgia of the ‘typical’ pecan pie. Luckily I’m dead wrong and I will be making all pies for all future pie holidays.
Also, it’s not a looker per se, but it’s all substance. Don’t judge this pie by my evidently rushed pie crust formation.
Oh, and the crust. It’s the only time that flakey can be a marvelous thing. It has taken me a while to develop this pie crust and I can say that I’m so happy with it that I declare (yes, declare) that I’ve done it. Perfectly flakey and light without being too weak to hold oodles of golden brown sugar and toasted pecans.
yields 8 servings
Filling adapted from Allrecipes.com
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp half and half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans and 1/4 cup whole pecans for decorations
- 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, recipe below
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter. Add in the brown sugar, white sugar and flour, and mix well.
- Finally, add the half and half, vanilla and nuts.
- Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Top with pecans for decoration, if using.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Then, reduce temperature of oven to 300F and bake for 35-40 minutes.
yields one 9-inch crust
- 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes – keep it chilled
- 4 tbsp ice water
- Sift together the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea sized pieces of butter. Pour the water over the mixture and using a fork until the mixture comes together into a ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. You can make this dough up to 2 days in advance.
- Roll out the dough, and place in a pie plate. Fill and bake.
When I first started dating Binks, around the holiday season six years ago, I made him a care package filled with goodies. As I had just met him there was no meaning for the packaged goods, other than being delicious and wanting to impress him with deliciousness. It worked. Six years and a baby later, I can tell you that he still remembers that package.
The one treat that impressed me the most was toffee. Considering that working with melting and browning sugar perfectly can be temperamental, this recipe was really forgiving and workable.
Toffee is a staple during the holidays, but considering the history of this simple candy, it means that much more. Without question, Binks always brings up his first bite of the toffee after opening the package.
Now, to save myself from eating the whole batch, I package it away as edible gifts for friends.
Chocolate Almond Toffee
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- Before beginning, line a cookie sheet with foil. Cover everything. I’m ultra-paranoid about candy sticking to the pan so I double wrapped the pan.
- Over medium-high heat, in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and salt. Mix constantly. (Keep the vanilla extract handy.)
- Once melted, reduce the heat to medium and stir the mixture continuously until you get it to a boil. It should be a smooth boil – not a rolling boil. If it’s a rolling boil, then reduce the heat more.
- If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you want to stir until you get the mixture to look like the color of a raw almond, a deep amber. It’s completely normal in this process for the mixture to become gelatinous and mesh together. Just remember to keep stirring. It will get to the amber/almond stage. Be patient. Another way to test if the mixture is done is to take a bit of the sugar mixture and drop into ice-cold water. It should be brittle when it hits the water.
- If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature should be 290-300 degrees.
- Once the mixture reaches the temperature, remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the pan and it should naturally spread to a good thickness. I like for it to be 1/4 inch thick. If not, use a spatula to spread more. Don’t worry about it being perfect.
- Once you are done with the sugar mixture, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. The chocolate will melt so take a spatula and spread the chocolate across the toffee mixture.
- Sprinkle the almonds over the chocolate, and press the looser almonds slightly into the chocolate to make sure it sticks.
- Cool the toffee in the fridge until completely cooled.
- Once cooled, break apart into shards. Store in an airtight container.