Maple Pecan Pie
We love everything about pecan pie: the buttery sweetness, the delightfully sticky chew of the nuts, the flaky pie crust. But it’s rich, and usually one piece will do you. Not this pecan pie. This is the sort of pie where the first slice is so good, you immediately go back for another. The sort of pie that’s so scrumptious, the flavors imprint on your brain, and you have dreams about it for weeks. What makes this pecan pie so special, you ask?
First of all, most pecan pie recipes use corn syrup as a sweetener in the filling. Instead, we use a combination of maple syrup and light brown sugar for a warmer, more natural sweetness — which melds perfectly with the toasty roasted pecans. We also use heavy cream, along with the usual sugar, butter, and eggs, so the filling is richer and more custardy. And last but not least, there’s a dash of both cinnamon and cayenne pepper in there, so you get a subtle, earthy heat that rounds out all of the flavors beautifully.
Some tips from the test kitchen: Be careful not to boil the maple syrup and brown sugar on the stove for more than 30 seconds. Boiling the sugars for longer than a minute will cause them to crystalize, and then incorporating the eggs will get kind of fussy. And finally, be sure to slowly sift the flour into the eggs — dumping it all in at once could potentially result in a clumpy pie filling. No thanks!
A warm slice of maple pecan pie tastes amazing with a scoop of vanilla — we love how the pie’s spices swirl into the cold, melt-y ice cream. Want to tame the overall sweetness with a bit of tang? Add a dollop of crème fraîche instead!
However you top it, this pie makes a wonderful addition to a fall dessert table, Thanksgiving or otherwise. (If you do bake it for Thanksgiving, there’s a strong chance it will outshine Grandma’s pumpkin pie … you’ve been warned!) It also would be a great holiday gift: leave one on a friend’s porch, and they’ll love you forever.
Yield: 1 9” pie
Maple Pecan Pie
Preheat the oven to 350°. To prepare the crust, lightly dust a clean work surface with all-purpose flour. Roll the pie crust dough to ¼” thickness, frequently rotating to prevent sticking. Brush off the excess flour and transfer the dough to a pie pan.
Leaving 1” hanging over the edges of the pan, cut off the excess dough. Fold the dough under itself so it’s flush with the edge of the pan, and flute the edges of the dough. Place the pie plate in the freezer so the dough can set.
Meanwhile, spread the pecan pieces on a baking sheet and roast until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
Remove the pie plate from the freezer and, using a fork, poke holes all around the base of the dough.
Line the dough with parchment paper, fill the parchment with pie weights, and transfer it to the oven. Par-bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown.
Set the crust aside to cool, and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
To make the filling, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the light brown sugar, maple syrup, and kosher salt. Whisking continuously, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat.
Whisk in the unsalted butter, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper until fully incorporated. Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium heat-proof bowl and let cool for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Sift in the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Then whisk in the heavy cream.
Slowly pour the cooled sugar mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, until combined. Fold in the vanilla extract and toasted pecan pieces.
Transfer the filling to the par-baked pie shell and then transfer the pie to the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the edges are set, the top is golden brown, and the center just jiggles.
Let cool completely, about 4 hours, then serve with vanilla ice cream. The pie can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.